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OF Ki 

i860; FOR PLY 
JAN. -JUNE 1906; H.M.'S BOLI< 



E. P. DUT 
















E. C. 




AH God, for a man with heart, head, hand, 
Like some of the simple great ones gone 
For ever and ever by ; 
One still strong man in a blatant land, 
Whatever they call him, what care I, 
Aristocrat, democrat, autocrat one 
Who can rule and dare not lie. 
And ah for a man to rise in me, 
That the man I am may cease to be. 



Not all who seem to fail have failed indeed, 
Not all who fail have therefore worked in vain, 
For all our acts to many issues lead ; 
And out of earnest purpose, pure and plain. 
Enforced by honest work of arm or brain, 
The Lord will fashion in His own good time 
(Be this the labourer's proudly humble creed) 
Such ends as to His wisdom fitliest chime 
With His vast love's eternal harmonies. 
There is no failure for the good and wise : 
What though their seed should fall by the wayside, 
And the birds snatch it, yet the birds are fed ; 
Or they shall bear it far across the tide 
To give rich harvests after thou art dead ! 





II. CHILDHOOD : 1841-1850 .... 8 

III. SCHOOL: 1851-1854 16 

IV. THE SHOP : 1855-1858 .... 25 


VI. THE INDIA HOUSE : 1859-1860 ... 49 

VII. THE LAW STUDENT : 1861-1864 ... 57 


IX. EARLY DAYS AT THE BAR : 1864-1866 . 76 

X. EARLY YEARS OF MARRIAGE : 1866-1873 . 89 

XI. POLITICAL BEGINNINGS I 1867-1874 . . 95 



XIV. THE DETECTIVE CASE: 1877 . . . 136 

XV. SOUTHWARK: 1877-1880 . . . 149 
XVI. ELECTION PETITIONS: 1880 . . , .171 




XVII. PLYMOUTH: 1880 183 

XVIII. CHIEFLY DOMESTIC: 1880-1894 . . 188 


ELSEWHERE: 1882-1884 . . . 204 

XX. AN UNEXPECTED CHECK: 1885 . . 235 

XXI. THE BARTLETT CASE: l886 . . . 246 

XXII. SOLICITOR-GENERAL: 1886-1890 . . 257 


1891-1892 ..... 294 



1895-1896 319 

XXVI. A PRIVATE MEMBER: 1896-1899 . . 332 

XXVII. THE WAR IN SOUTH AFRICA : 1899-1900 . 34! 

XXVIII. OUT OF PARLIAMENT: 1900-1905 . . 363 

XXIX. THE CITY OF LONDON : 1906 . . . 374 

XXX. A MEDITATION: 1906 .... 391 


XXXII. THE END OF THE STORY : 1914 . . 413 



INDEX . .423 




No ONE will doubt that vanity, the only universal weakness, 
has something to do with my desire to leave a record of 
the events of my life. I do not doubt it myself. But I 
hope and believe that my chief reason for undertaking the 
task is the wish that such a book may interest lads whose 
early lives are spent as mine was, in somewhat humble and 
difficult circumstances, and who may be encouraged by 
the story of my happy and successful career to be vigilant 
to find, and active to use, opportunities of self-improve- 
ment by study, by exercise of mind and body, by the 
habitual companionship of books, by the cultivation of 
worthy friendships. I hope, too, it will encourage them 
to combat the besetting selfishness of life by interesting 
themselves in the public affairs of their country and the 
community in which they live, and in the movements of 
spirit and intellect social, industrial, moral, and religious 
which are forming the character and so determining the 
future of our race. 

Thus they may rise towards that complete life which 
is alone worthy of a Christian man, a life of faith and courage 
and industry, and gain for themselves habits at once of 
energy and contentment. As I write I am humbled by 
thinking how far my life has fallen short of my own ideals. 
Still I have not been consciously untrue to them ; and 

c . : ^,_i \ k " INTRODUCTORY [CHAP. 1 

perhaps tie Vtory of my life may help others to a fuller 

I think if I tell it myself simply and briefly it will be more 
likely to do good than if I leave material from which, when 
I am dead, some one might compile a larger and more 
elaborate biography. 

I know very little of my family history. The parish 
register of Axbridge in Somersetshire would probably give 
some information, but it would only be the record of an 
undistinguished family of yeomen farmers, one of whom, 
my great-grandfather, was living at that village in the 
later years of the eighteenth century. 

Knowing little of my ancestors, I have interested myself 
the more in the men who have borne my name and have 
been in any way distinguished in public life. There are 
only three Edward Clarkes of which this can be said ; and 
curiously enough each of these was connected with one of 
the three great interests of my life literature, law, and 
the City of London. One of them was a politician also, 
and as he represented a Somersetshire constituency, I 
please myself by thinking that I may be one of his de- 

In 1695 Edward Clarke, Member of Parliament for 
Taunt on, was the chief actor in an event which Macaulay 
says did more for liberty and for civilisation than the Great 
Charter or the Bill of Rights. 1 

In passing a Bill for the continuance of certain expiring 
Acts, the House of Commons intentionally omitted the 
Act which for fifty years had controlled, and in fact de- 
stroyed, the liberty of the Press. 

The Lords inserted the Act, and the Commons on the Bill 
being returned to them with this amendment struck it out. 
A conference of the two Houses took place. Edward 
Clarke was the Manager for the Commons, and drew up the 
reasons for their insisting on the omission. 

The Lords gave way and our Press was freed. 

The second notable Edward Clarke, and curiously enough 

1 Macaulay's History, 4, 542. 


the three were contemporaries, comes still closer to my own 
career, for he was a Sir Edward Clarke who was Treasurer 
of Lincoln's Inn. 

The Black books of the Inn have helped me to trace the 
outline of his life. 

He was called to the Bar in November 1600, and after 
serving the office of Pensioner (or collector) to the Society, 
in which capacity I regret to say he was fined 5 for " col- 
lecting soe little and having a deficit in his accounts," he 
was called to the bench in 1626. 

He was then Sir Edward Clarke, and had some years 
before been appointed Recorder of Reading. 

So far from being remiss in money matters there, he 
demanded fees which the burgesses thought so extortionate 
that they appealed to the Earl of Wallingford, then high 
steward of the borough, asking him to fix the salary. He 
fixed it at 6 a year, and this was agreed to by the corpora- 
tion. But Sir Edward continued to exact larger fees ; and 
so by resolution of the majority of the principal burgesses 
he was removed from office and a Mr. Saunders elected in 
his place. Then long controversy went on, and in 1625 
Sir Edward was readmitted to office, but it was decided 
that he should share the fees equally with Mr. Saunders. 

This did not please him at all ; and a few years later a 
new charter was granted to Reading and, it was thought 
through the influence of Archbishop Laud, he was restored 
to the sole enjoyment of the Recorder ship. He seems to 
have saved money at Reading, for the entry in the Black 
book of Lincoln's Inn which records his appointment as 
a bencher goes on to say that he offered to lend the Inn 
50, " which kind offer the members of the bench doe 
lovingly accept." Perhaps when he made this offer he 
thought he was to have all the emoluments of the Recorder- 
ship instead of sharing them with Mr. Saunders ; and 
oddly enough only a month after he offered to lend the 
50 he paid the Inn 10 to be released from the promise. 
He was Keeper of the Black book in 1631, and the records 
kept by himself state that he " did lend money to the Inn." 


The wisdom of his paying the forfeit of 10 was shown by 
an entry in June 1632 that " Sir Edward Clarke agreed 
to accept 100 in satisfaction of the bond for 150 due to 
him from the House." In 1633-4 he was Treasurer of the 
Inn, and his arms are in one of the south windows of the 
Chapel. He had a prosperous year, for the receipts were 
641 us. n^d. and the payments 483 us. 4^., leaving a 
profit to the Society of 158 os. j%d. 

It appears that he, on May 23rd, 1633, called his son to the 
Bar ; a very exceptional pleasure which I as Treasurer also 
enjoyed when I called my younger son on November igth, 

The third of my namesakes was another Sir Edward 
Clarke who was an interesting figure in the roll of eminent 
citizens who have filled the great office of Lord Mayor of 

He was born in 1627, and was apprenticed to his uncle, 
George Clarke, a mercer in Cheapside. 

When William III and his Queen made their first visit 
to the City and, with the Prince of Denmark, were enter- 
tained at the Guildhall on October 29th, 1689, two aldermen 
were knighted, and one of them was Edward Clarke, then 
Alderman of Broad Street Ward, who was elected one of 
the Sheriffs at the next election of Lord Mayor and Sheriffs, 
which took place on May 26th, 1690. In the same year he 
was Master of the Merchant-Taylors' Company, of which 
he had been Warden in 1687 and 1688. 

In 1691 he was one of the Commissioners appointed by 
the Common Council to report upon the office of Remem- 
brancer, who reported in the next year. Then in 1697 he 
was Lord Mayor. It was an interesting year of office, for 
the Corporation gave a great reception to William III 
when he returned to England after the Peace of Ryswick, 
and the Lord Mayor and Sheriffs attended the thanks- 
giving service held in the yet unfinished new Cathedral of 
St. Paul's. 

He died in 1703, and was buried in the Church of St. 
Matthew, Friday Street, to which he and Thomas Sandford 

1800-36] MY FATHER 5 

(probably a brother churchwarden) had given the front of 
the gallery and the King's arms, and where a tablet in 
the south aisle recalls his memory. 

My great-grandfather mentioned above was not, I believe, 
a very clever or very successful man. A son or nephew of 
his went to Australia, and by and by became a millionaire 
and the first Australian baronet. 

As the family fortunes declined one son drifted to Bath, 
and was there employed at the York House Hotel. 

He was fortunate in obtaining for his only son, my father, 
who was born at Axbridge in 1800, a start in life as 
apprentice to the Paynes, a long-established finrr of silver- 
smiths, who carried on business at the south-east corner of 
Union Street and Quiet Street, Bath. 

Here, from 1813 to 1820, my father was employed ; and 
he always spoke gratefully of the way in which he was 
treated, and the friendly interest which the members of the 
firm took in his subsequent fortunes. He happened to be 
at Axbridge in 1815 when the coach came in covered with 
laurel, and bringing the news of the victory of Waterloo. 
At this time Bath was the most fashionable of English 
towns, and he remembered seeing Lord Liverpool and 
Canning and Wilberforce talking together at the door of 
the shop in which he served, and at which Liverpool and 
Canning were occasionally customers. When his appren- 
ticeship was ended, he came to London, and was an assistant 
at a shop in Oxford Street, and one at Wilderness Row, 
Clerkenwell, before he found employment in which he 
stayed for some years in the service of Mr. Croswell, who 
kept a small jeweller's shop in St. Paul's Churchyard, just 
opposite the north door of the Cathedral. The manage- 
ment of the business was left to my father ; he had a good 
salary judged by his modest needs ; for some time he had 
been engaged to a very pretty girl at Bath, so in 1836 he 
went down to that city, put on the blue-tailed coat with 
large brass buttons which was then the regulation wedding 
garb ; went to Bathwick Church by back streets because 
he looked so conspicuous, and was married to Frances 


George. He was fortunate indeed in finding such a wife. 
My mother was then twenty-six years of age, ten years 
his junior. She was slight and graceful in figure ; her face 
was of delicate and pensive beauty with fine dark eyes ; 
her manners were quiet and reserved ; not highly educated, 
knowing no language but her own, with music for her only 
accomplishment, she had read much of the graver kinds of 
English literature, and her exceptional strength of char- 
acter, blemished as it was by a gloomy Calvinistic theology, 
was the fitting supplement and corrective to my father's 
gay and somewhat careless disposition. Her father had 
been in business at Bath, and after his death his widow, 
with the help of this daughter, managed the depot of the 
Society for the Promotion of Christian Knowledge at 
Milsom Street, Bath, and it was from that occupation in 
one of the most beautiful towns in Europe that the young 
bride came to the modest lodgings in Northampton Street, 
Clerkenwell. She burst into tears when she saw the ugliness 
of the great wilderness of bricks and mortar which was to 
be her future home. But, the first tears shed, there began 
a life which for many years was one of almost unclouded 

In July 1837 a girl was born ; and christened in the 
mother's name. In May 1839 the arrival of another girl, 
called Margaretta, after my mother's only sister, was some 
disappointment, but in that year there was much to think 
of in the excitement of the daring step being made of setting 
up a business in the new King William Street which had 
but lately been completed. 

It was a bold venture. The rent of the house, where, 
according to the wise habit of those days, the family would 
live over the shop, was 90 a year, and severe economy had 
only enabled my father to save 200, which was his entire 
capital. To start a jeweller's and silversmith's business on 
such a capital seemed madness. But all who knew my dear 
father loved and trusted him. The wholesale dealers in 
every branch of the trade helped the man whose character 
of instinctive honesty they had learned to trust and there 

1841] MY BIRTH 7 

was one firm, that of Eady & Paris of Red Lion Street, 
Clerkenwell, of whose unfailing and most generous kindness 
during a struggle which lasted forty years, I cannot think 
without emotion and the deepest gratitude. 1 

The experiment was from the first a fair success. 

The happiness of the home life was increased by the 
more constant companionship now rendered possible, and 
its measure was filled when on February I5th, 1841, the 
first son was born. 

1 The first Company dinner I attended during my short Membership for 
the City of London was at the Goldsmiths' Hall, and the Prime Warden 
was Mr. Frank Eady, the son of one of my father's old friends, and at that 
time (1906) the head of the old firm. 


CHILDHOOD : 1841-1850 

OF the history of my first ten years there is little to tell. 
In truth the incidents of childhood are of little importance ; 
what really matters is the character of the home, the 
atmosphere in which the young life learns to think. And 
before I mention one or two incidents which remain in my 
memory and happened before I was ten years old, I will 
try to sketch the home in which it was my good fortune 
to be brought up. It was a home of small space and of 
narrow means. 

My dear father was of a simple, kindly, and most generous 
nature, which shone through clear blue eyes and in a sunny 
smile. H e had little education. I do not remember his ever 
reading a book ; his reading was confined to The Morning 
Herald, which was diligently studied in the frequent intervals 
of leisure which the character and small extent of his 
business gave him. 

But his nature was not without refinement. He had a 
sweet tenor voice, played well on the flute, and was fond 
of music and the dramatic art. And he had some un- 
trained skill in ivory carving. Where or when this was 
acquired I do not know ; he never in my recollection did 
any such work, but an excellent little figure of Napoleon 
and one of a sleeping child, both carved by him, were 
among the most precious of my mother's few treasures. 

His only pleasures outside his home were the occasional 
meetings of the Candlewick Ward Club at the White Hart 
in Cannon Street, and the rarer dinners of the Cooks' Com- 


1841-50] THE SHOP 9 

pany, to his membership of which ancient guild he owed 
the fact that he never in his life served on a jury. 1 

A very rare visit to the theatre when he took me to see 
one of Shakespeare's plays was an indulgence of which my 
mother's severe opinions did not allow her to approve. I 
was the only one of the children permitted to share this 
dangerous pleasure. My father had not some of the qualities, 
whether of merit or defect, which help to success in business. 
He had abundant industry, but little energy. The in- 
grained conservatism of his nature made him continue for 
forty years exactly the same methods of trade as he began 
with when he went to King William Street in 1837. No 
change was ever made. The same formal row of candle- 
sticks and dish covers filled the top of the shop window. 
The same little cards with sets of studs upon them and the 
unchangeable price neatly written under each set, the same 
trays of rings, the same rows of hanging chains, were seen 
in the same places year after year. In the glass case on 
the counter the same pencil cases and smelling bottles and 
plated spoons and forks waited year after year for the 
expected purchaser. So it is not wonderful that the 
business did not grow. Old friends were very faithful; 
attracted and retained by his cheerful gratitude to any one 
who came to buy, and by his manifest and absolute honesty. 
He was indeed a gentleman by nature. Incapable of a 
mean action or an ungenerous thought ; his heart always 
youthful in its frank delight at any piece of good fortune 
which came to him or to another ; his life ruled by a devout 
religious feeling which knew little of creeds and dogmas, 
yet gave him hope and courage and strength, and was to 
him indeed a habit of goodness. 

I thank God for this, one of the greatest of the blessings 
that He has showered upon me, that He set before my 
childhood a pattern of life so lovable, so noble, and so pure. 

In my dear mother he had a companion of a different 

1 In June 1906 the Cooks' Company did me the honour, never paid to 
any one else, of presenting me \yjth the honorary freedom and livery of 
the Company, 


and, on the intellectual side, a higher type. At the depot 
at Bath she had opportunities of improving her education 
which she did not neglect. She had read much and acquired 
a habit of reading chiefly history and the theology of the 
seventeenth century. She had little training in music, 
but she sang sweetly, and played the piano with ease and 
taste. She was a devoted wife and mother. To her home 
and the teaching of her children all the thoughts and activi- 
ties of her life were given. Her acquaintances were very 
few, and as we grew older they fell off through neglect. 
She was not indeed of a character which invited the 
lighter friendships. With strangers she was cold and 
reserved in manner. Absolutely devoted as she was to 
her husband and children, it seemed as time went on that 
it was the devotion of duty rather than of love. In her 
a sweet nature had been, by the incidents or influences of 
her early life, rendered somewhat hard and unsympathetic. 

What those incidents were I never knew. There was 
always a strange reticence on the part of both my parents 
about that early life. Her father was never mentioned ; 
her mother very rarely. Indeed the statements that I 
heard that her father's name was Henry George, that he 
was a hairdresser in Bath, and that he there committed 
suicide, always seemed something of a myth. There was an 
old woman named Betsy, who used to come to the shop 
once a month, and there receive from my father in almost 
absolute silence on both sides a certain small sum of money, 
of whom we children used to speak to each other mysteri- 
ously as being connected with some secrets of the past. 
Whatever the cause the severity of character was fixed. 
Especially in its religious aspects. My mother was a rigid 
Calvinist in her creed, inexorable in her judgement, espe- 
cially in cases of immorality ; fond of the severities of the 
Old Testament, strict in the precise observance of the 
Sabbath, and in abstinence from theatres and public dances, 
and from the lighter forms of literature. 

The government of the little household, its admirable 
economies, and the intellectual side of our training, came 

1841-50] THE HOME ii 

from her, but my father's sunny spirit gave life and cheer- 
fulness to a home which otherwise would have been gloomy. 
I said it was a home of small space and of narrow means. 
From first to last my father's income only averaged and 
rarely exceeded 300 a year after paying rent and taxes. 
Upon this income my mother and he brought up a family 
of six children, who all had a good education, and a home 
of comfort and of some refinement. The house itself was 
cruelly small. Besides the shop there were only four rooms, 
a sitting-room, two bedrooms, and a kitchen, and it taxed 
my mother's skill in management to make life in such a 
home consistent with decency and health. In the top room 
where the parents slept a little cot held the latest born of 
the children. Outside on the landing a bed was placed 
for one of the boys. The girls and the maid- servant slept 
in the other bedroom which was on the second floor. The 
cook slept in the kitchen. The shop-boy slept in the shop 
on a truckle-bed before the counter, and when in 1848 the 
arrival of a third boy ousted me from the staircase bed, I 
also had a folding bed behind the counter in the shop. 
That was my sleeping place from the time I was seven 
until we left the house ten years later. 

The home was crowded, but it was not without refine- 
ment. All the family life belonged to the sitting-room on 
the first floor, which was dining-room, drawing-room, 
library, school-room, and play-room all in one. Let me 
try to describe it. A room about sixteen feet by twelve, 
narrowed at one end by the slant of the fireplace at its 
corner. Two large windows to the street, with low blinds 
of a sort of brown gauze. At one end, where the door 
opened from the staircase, a large piano with a flat top, 
upon it standing the oil lamp, by which at night the room 
is lighted, and some piles of music and of books. 

At the other end a black horsehair sofa filling the space 
between the window and the fireplace. On the wall above 
the sofa an engraving of the Queep being entertained at 
the Guildhall in 1840, where my father had contrived to be 
present in the garb, if not with the occupation, of a waiter. 


Above the mantel-shelf a miniature of my mother at the 
age of twenty, with hair piled up in curls, and a low bodice, 
and short puffed sleeves. On the mantel-shelf a gilt clock, 
a vase or two, and the ivory statuettes under glass shades. 
In the centre a square school table with flaps which 
adapted it to its various purposes. Round the room, 
placed regularly against the wall, half-a-dozen horsehair 
chairs with stiff mahogany frames and a child's chair or 
two. This was all that could be seen, and it was bare 
enough. But between the door and the fireplace was the 
real treasure-house, a spacious three-cornered cupboard 
with shelves round it. Here were books, slates, and play- 
things, a large Noah's Ark, some historical and geographical 
puzzle maps, games of English Kings and Queens and the 
cities of the world, and a box of Loto, which taught us 
quickness of eye and was the nearest approach to a game 
of chance we were ever allowed to play. In this room, 
when prayers had been read and breakfast was finished, 
we set to our lessons for the day. As I try to recall the 
past I seem to see a little fair-haired girl of twelve my 
sister Fanny at the piano, with her mother the never- 
ending needlework in her hands sitting by to correct and 
encourage. At the table, drawing, is a girl with dark eyes 
and hair, two years younger, my sister Madgie, a cripple, 
dragging herself about heavily with steel frames from foot 
to knee, always an invalid, but always happy in the art 
which was the chief resource and pleasure of her life. 1 And 
at the sofa on his knees is a small pale-faced boy, deep in 
some book, almost certainly a book of history. It was a 
happy childhood. When the lessons were over we went 
for a walk in Drapers' Gardens or the garden of Finsbury 
Circus ; or sometimes went to the Temple Gardens along 
the narrow streets which filled the space now opened by 
Cannon Street and Queen Victoria Street, or went, again 
through narrow streets, to the Tower of London, where we 
played in the Moat Garden and rejoiced in childish dreams 

1 She designed, as a pupil at the Female School of Art in Queen's 
Square, the lace which Princess Louise wore at her wedding. 

1841-50] OUR PLEASURES 13 

of the history of the Tower. If the afternoon was wet, 
there was the unfailing resource of looking through the 
window at the changing tide of traffic, or, as customers 
were likely to be few and the shop bell could soon be 
answered, the dear father would come up and play the flute 
to us, or join our games, or sing with our mother the duet 
we were fond of, " Rise, fair maiden, chase thy slumbers," 
or take one or two of us on his knees while she sang " Phyllis 
is my only joy." 

There were other and rarer pleasures. Once a year a 
long day at the Zoological Gardens. And once or twice 
an old customer, Captain Greet, who commanded H.M.S. 
Crocodile, the guardship moored off the Tower, asked us to 
come and have tea on board, and the wonders of the ship 
itself, and the stories he would tell us of sea life, and the 
sight of the Traitor's Gate and the central Keep of the 
Tower, made the visit a precious memory for many months. 

Now and then we went to a neighbour's house where we 
and his children used to learn and practise dancing, and 
once a year we had a children's party with a Christmas tree. 

Each spring a lodging was taken at Greenwich, and here 
for a few weeks we took it in turn to stay with our mother, 
and in the glorious heath, the beauties of Greenwich Park, 
the wonders of the great clock and ball of the Observatory, 
and the pictures and relics in the painted Hall of Greenwich 
Hospital, found enjoyments ever exciting and ever fresh. 
Now and then my father would come down by train, in one 
of the open trucks, without a cover and without a seat, 
which then were used for the cheapest class. 

Again I thank God for such a happy childhood so guarded 
and so trained. Had my parents been people of wealth 
and rank they could not have given me a better start in 
life ; they could not if they would have given me the same 
fullness of parental care. 

Of my home life before I was ten years old there are 
only two incidents which I clearly recollect. One was the 
Chartist riot of 1848. The night before the expected out- 
break my father took me out to see the sandbags piled along 


the parapet of the Bank of England through which the 
soldiers would fire on the rioters. On April loth itself we 
were all in anxiety and excitement. The shops were shut. 
My father, armed with his special constable's staff, went to 
his post of duty on London Bridge. All the morning we 
children were at the window, peeping over the brown blinds 
and wondering when the fighting would begin. Just about 
12 o'clock there was a thrill. A large wagon with about a 
dozen men in it, and at its centre a tall pole with the red 
cap of liberty on its top, was driven rapidly by, and we 
thought the terrible moment had come. But nothing 
happened. By and by the special constables came back 
laughing and joking, and we heard that the rebellion had 
fizzled out before it reached Westminster Bridge. 

The other incident was of a very different kind. The 
bed behind the counter was a necessity, but it was a hard 
trial to a young child. The noises of the street frightened 
me, and when they died away the terrors of the silences 
took their place. I would lie awake listening for the police- 
man's tread which brought a suggestion of protection. 
Sometimes a drunken man would reel against the shutters, 
and wake me with the rattle of the thin sheets of iron which 
were put between them and the shop windows. Some- 
times the noise of quarrel or a woman's scream would startle 
me from sleep, and leave me in restless and excited wakeful- 
ness. Sometimes, and this was the worst, I fancied that I 
heard a key in the door, or a chisel at the shutters, or the 
sound of some one stealthily moving in the shop. Then fear 
became a physical pain. One night it was unbearable. I 
sprang up and violently rang the bell. Next moment I was 
ashamed and frightened at what I had done. My father 
was quick of temper, my mother severe in punishments ; I 
had disturbed and frightened them without a cause. Foot- 
steps hurrying on the stairs, my father and mother quickly 
by me, candle in hand. I pretend to be asleep. " What 
is the matter ? Why did you ring ? " Then the futile false- 
hood, " I did not ring." They looked at each other ; I 
think they understood. There was no scolding ; a few 


soothing words and they went away, leaving me to sob 
myself to sleep in the sorrow and humiliation of having 
told a cowardly lie. I do not know what happened after- 
wards, but I think I can guess. For a day or two my father 
would be kinder than ever. For many weeks my mother 
would look at me sadly ; she would make me learn a text 
which told of the doom of liars, and she would offer heart- 
broken prayers that her erring child might be saved from 
the wrath to come. I never rang the bell again. 

SCHOOL : 1851-1854 

WHEN I was nearly ten years old the question where I was 
to go to school had to be faced. My father had hoped for a 
nomination to Christ's Hospital, but in this he was disap- 
pointed, and it was decided that I should go to the Merchant- 
Taylors' School in Suffolk Lane, Cannon Street. My name 
was duly entered and school books were bought. Two old 
ladies named Townsend kept a sort of boarding house 
opposite the door of the school, and there it was arranged 
that I should dine and prepare my lessons in the evening. 
It was within a week of the assembly of the school when I 
had a recurrence of the severe and continuous headache 
by which I had for several years been troubled. Dr. Lloyd 
came over from Finsbury Circus, and on his advice the idea 
of a day school was given up, and my father looked about 
for a school in the country where I might have less teaching 
and more exercise and fresh air. He saw in his daily 
paper an advertisement of a school at Edmonton, where 
sound tuition, domestic care, good diet, and spacious play- 
grounds were offered for the modest sum of 30 a year. 
So one morning in January 1851 my mother took me in 
the omnibus which started from the " Flower Pot " in 
Bishopsgate Street, and was the only regular conveyance 
between London and the pleasant country village which 
John Gilpin's ride made famous. 

It was for me a most fortunate choice. 

In an old rambling house next to the Bell Inn, the 
schoolmaster, with the aid of three or four ushers and an 
invaluable matron, taught and took care of about a hundred 


boys. He was himself a man of no great education, with 
a pompous manner and full rotund voice ; a terrible im- 
postor so far as school work was concerned, but a shrewd 
and clever manager of boys and their parents. His black- 
tailed coat, his voluminous white neckcloth and that 
unctuous voice, were part of his stock-in-trade, and the 
grave deference of his " my dear madam," the tenderness 
of his " your dear little boy," won many a mother's heart. 
In truth he was a selfish, hard man, capable, as I found 
out later, of spite and cruel injustice. The first master 
was one Oakshott, a much better type, rough in manner, 
but kind and just, and very helpful to boys who tried to 
work. He taught me shorthand that is to say, he gave me 
a sheet of paper with the characters on it and looked over 
a few of my early attempts to write ; and thus to him I 
owe one of the two acquirements which represent, so far as 
teaching is concerned, the greater part of the advantage I 
got from two years of school life at Edmonton. The other 
acquirement came from the English master, a shy, awkward, 
shambling creature named Plaice. He was a man of some 
culture. He had once been an actor, and had risen to be 
the understudy of some tragedian whose name I did not 
know. By strange by-ways of misfortune, perhaps of 
misconduct, he had drifted down to be the drudge of this 
school. He spent his holidays there, for he had no friends 
to go to, and there were always some boys to be looked 
after. He was the slave of the other masters and the butt 
of the boys. Condemned to ceaseless labour, with very 
little pay, and none of the associations of friendship or 
affection which make poverty endurable, he had but one 
pleasure the elocution class. While the boys were at 
play it was his duty to be always with them, but he walked 
up and down, up and down by the playground wall, reading 
or reciting scenes from the plays of Shakespeare. He soon 
took to me. I was very little, very quiet, not used to the 
roughness of lads mostly a little older than myself, and he 
befriended me and gave me the treasure which was all he 
had to give. I was already fond of poetry, and in my home 

i8 SCHOOL [CHAP, in 

teaching the invaluable art of elocution had not been for- 
gotten. I had been used to read aloud and to recite the 
hymns and religious poems which were thought to be 
suitable. Now a new literature came within my ken, and 
I used to walk up and down with him listening to his 
recitation. Soon he took me in hand and was very kind and 
patient with me, and at the end of 1851 when a play was 
performed in the school-room by the elder boys, I came 
on between the parts and recited Othello's " Address to 
the Senate." 

It seems absurd to say it, but I think it was in the year 
1850, when I was only nine years old, that the idea of some 
day being a Member of Parliament first came into my mind. 
It happened that in the summer of that year I was at home 
when a great event occurred. The last great debate in 
the temporary House of Commons which had been used 
since the fire of 1837, t ne Don Pacifico debate, had been 
expected to end in the downfall of the Whig Government. 
For five years, since the betrayal of 1846, there had been 
division in the Conservative ranks. Sir Robert Peel and 
the notable group of his followers Sir James Graham, 
Sidney Herbert, and Gladstone among them had sat on 
the front Opposition bench alongside the Tory leaders 
Lord George Bentinck and Disraeli, but without having 
any party association with them. There were no com- 
munications between the two sections as to the conduct 
of business or debate. But in view of the Don Pacifico 
discussion with its hopes of victory (promise of victory and 
office) this isolation was broken down. In joint council 
it was arranged that Disraeli should close the debate and 
that Gladstone, who then made his first speech on a 
question of foreign politics, should follow Lord Palmerston. 
Alexander Cockburn, called up from his work on the 
Western Circuit and earning for himself the Solicitor- 
Generalship six weeks later, and ultimately the Lord 
Chief Justiceship, by obeying the summons which Crowther 
refused, said in his speech, with a strange disregard of 
parliamentary usage, that he supposed they must now 


consider Gladstone as the leader. " Gladstone vice Disraeli, 
am I to say resigned or superseded ? " The attack did not 
succeed. At 4 o'clock in the morning of Saturday June 2Qth 
the division was taken and Ministers had a majority of forty- 
six. But the joint action of the Peelites and the Tories 
seemed to promise that the quarrels of the last five years 
would be forgotten and that Peel and Stanley, Disraeli and 
Gladstone, would thenceforth act and probably very soon 
triumph together. 

It was otherwise decreed. At 4 o'clock on that Saturday 
afternoon as Sir Robert Peel was riding slowly up Con- 
stitution Hill his horse stumbled and the rider was carried 
back to Whitehall Place to die. He lingered for three days. 
On the Sunday afternoon my father took me to Whitehall, 
and there a scattered crowd loitered up and down Parlia- 
ment Street watching the house where he lay. The scene 
made a great impression on me. And I doubt not that 
before we reached home I knew all that my father could 
tell me of the life that was so soon to end. 

In 1852 I may as well describe the scene now, for it 
hangs in my memory as a companion picture I was brought 
up from school for a few days to see the funeral of the Duke 
of Wellington. On my young mind the solemnity had a 
great effect. The night before the funeral my father took 
me to Ludgate Hill, where in the flare of torches workmen 
were setting up great barricades of wood, while all round 
one heard the hammering at stands and balconies, and 
saw the black hangings at the windows. Early next day 
we all went in a cab over London Bridge, returning across 
the Suspension Bridge at Hungerford as the only way by 
which we could be sure of reaching Buckingham Street, 
Strand, where at the London office of a Sheffield silversmith 
with whom my father dealt we were promised a window 
to see the funeral procession. The view was not very good, 
so my father took me to the end of the street, where for 
a shilling or two we were allowed to stand on a wooden box 
or table. 

There we waited while the crowd grew dense. At 

20 SCHOOL [CHAP, in 

12 o'clock guns told us that the procession had started, 
and by and by we heard in the distance the heavy tread 
of the soldiers. On they came ; thirty thousand marching 
in the procession. The Rifles in their dark uniform, march- 
ing with arms reversed, came first. Then for half an hour 
the monotonous tramp of feet, the colours hung with crape ; 
the muffled drums beating to the funeral march ; the guns 
throbbing in the distance. Then after many carriages 
came the dead soldier's horse led along with the boots 
reversed hanging from the saddle. Last the great funeral 
car, the hat and sword on the coffin which looked strangely 
small on its massive stand. And the silver trumpets of 
the Life Guards in the wailing tones of the " Adeste Fideles." 

All lookers-on uncovered ; the people round me sobbed 
like children, and my father, always of quick emotion, 
could hardly stand ; and I carried away deeply graven on 
my memory a scene which has never in my recollection had 
a parallel. 

I return to the story of my life at Edmonton, but there is 
not much to tell. 

During my second year there my schoolmaster and I 
came to love each other very little. I do not quite know 
how it came about, I suppose it was partly my fault, and 
yet I know that I was very keen to learn and that it troubled 
me much to think how grieved and disappointed my parents 
would be to hear bad accounts of me. I had at first done 
so well. The reports were excellent ; I was in the school 
roll of honour from which a single punishment would have 
excluded me ; although quite a junior boy I was made 
monitor of my dormitory ; I got into the second eleven of 
the school at cricket; my holiday tasks were, of course, 
always well done. But something went wrong. I think 
the trouble began by my resenting some rough treatment 
to which I or another was subjected. Whatever the cause 
my last six months at Edmonton were a perpetual storm. 
I remember being beaten three times in one day, twice in 
the schoolroom and once in the bedroom ; once for some 
misbehaviour in school, the other times because I would 


not beg pardon or cry. I should have liked to cry. It 
might have made the pain seem less, or at all events have 
saved me from more, but I would have died rather than 
cry until indeed I was alone and it would not be a triumph 
for my tyrant. 

Of course this state of things could only end in one way. 
There were violent reports sent home. My poor mother 
was in deep distress, and at the end of 1852, after a stormy 
interview at King William Street at which I defended my- 
self as best I could, the pedagogue took his leave and my 
country schooling ended. 

I brought away from Edmonton a fair teaching in ele- 
mentary subjects ; the two invaluable acquirements already 
mentioned, and an abiding dislike to missionary societies, 
to which out of our scanty pocket-money we had been 
compelled to contribute. 

But I brought with me something better than all good 
health. The food at school was plentiful and good ; 
the hours of study were short ; the playground and the 
cricket-field were large and open to the country, and I, 
who went there a pale-faced and delicate child subject to 
painful headaches, came back as a lad of twelve, not indeed 
sturdy or strong, but so much changed for the better that 
there was never afterwards any reason for anxiety about 
me. I brought with me also one long-abiding friendship. 
Robert Pottle, whose father had a newsvendor's business 
at the back of the Royal Exchange which he himself after- 
wards carried on, was rather older and much stronger than 
I, and used always to stand by me in school troubles. He 
had a charming mother and two pretty sisters. I became 
a very frequent visitor at their house in the New North 
Road, and my friendship with him, a manly and generous 
soul, lasted until his death fifty years after we first met at 

Again a school had to be found for me, and again there 

was found exactly the school I needed. My mother would 

not let me go away from home again, so I was sent to the 

City Commercial School in George Yard, Lombard Street, 


22 SCHOOL [CHAP, in 

In a low-roofed building, the site of which can easily be 
found, for ancient lights have kept down the bank which 
has replaced it to a low level of height, one William Pinches 
kept a school which he had established in 1830. The 
conditions of life in the City of London were very different 
from those which are found to-day. Now the square mile 
of its area has a population of housekeepers, and caretakers, 
and police, and firemen, and there is little need of day schools 
for its twenty thousand residents. But in 1841 the traders 
and their families lived at their places of business and the 
population was over six times that number. From the 
first the school prospered. The education was to be had 
cheaply. There was no teaching of Greek ; some of the 
elder boys learned Latin, for the sake of the grammar and 
not of the language ; German was an extra rarely indulged 
in ; and French was only permitted as a privilege of the 
higher classes. But the essentials of a good English educa- 
tion were soundly taught. 

To write clearly, to cypher quickly, to read aloud with 
intelligent emphasis and to be accurate in grammar and 
spelling these the schoolmaster rightly thought were the 
essentials. Let these be mastered and everything else in 
the way of learning will come when it is wanted. But 
many other things were well taught. History, ancient 
and modern, geography, elementary science, geometrical 
drawing, found their place in an excellent system of in- 
struction. And the charge for all this was only six pounds 
a year. I will try to sketch the person and the character 
of the teacher to whom I owe a great debt of gratitude. 

A short, stout, broad-shouldered man, active in move- 
ment, precise in dress ; the invariable black tailed coat 
always well brushed, the wide open waistcoat displaying a 
snowy shirt, at the throat the small black tie under a turned- 
down collar which denoted one whose model in youth had 
been Lord Byron. A round smiling face above which the 
scanty light hair was now silvering. The kindest blue eyes 
sparkling through, or more often under, a pair of gold- 
rimmed spectacles. A small mouth " where smiles went 


out and in," but close pressed and hard when any fault, 
especially if it were a fault of meanness or unfairness, 
excited his short-lived anger. A voice clear and strong and 
trained to excellent elocution. A patience which nothing 
could tire ; a nobility and generosity of soul which shone 
through all the monotonous toil of his daily life ; a deep 
and earnest piety which found expression in his loving 
sympathy with every boy who came under his rule and tried 
to do his work honestly this, as well as I can draw it, is the 
picture of the man under whom I was so fortunate as to 
spend two happy years. 

I came to him in a state of mind which fitted me to profit 
by the good influences of the school. I was sore and dis- 
appointed with the failure at Edmonton, but it was the 
unconcealed sorrow of my father and mother which pressed 
upon me most. I knew that I had it in me to learn and to 
succeed, and I went to George Yard resolved to wipe out 
my own shame and their regrets and misgivings. They 
were indeed soon wiped out. There is nothing of moment 
to tell about the school life of those two years, but it was 
a steady progress to the top of the school. There were no 
alternations of credit and disgrace ; I never had a punish- 
ment ; I do not think I ever vexed the dear master whom 
I loved and whose friendship and counsel were given me 
until his death. 

There was one side of the school life which I must mention 
separately. Again my constant good fortune had brought 
me to one who found his chief enjoyment in poetry and the 
dramatic art. Elocution was taught to all whose parents 
had intelligence enough to permit the study. And once a year 
an entertainment was given at the Jews and General Literary 
and Scientific Institution at Sussex Hall, Leadenhall Street. 
I was in my time the show boy of the school. At three 
of these Christmas gatherings (for my supremacy was so 
great that, contrary to all rule, I was asked to recite a year 
after I had left the school) I spoke the last piece in the 
programme. These were great nights. The hall was 
filled with parents and friends. The boys were in their 


evening dress of black jacket and black tie, the master sat 
at the side of the platform with lips moving as he followed 
every word of every recitation, and his kind eyes sparkling 
with fun or fire according as the piece was gay or grave. 

I had no rival present in the school, but even I could 
not hold my own against the memory of one who had just 
left. Whenever I had done anything particularly well I 
used to hear " Very good, Clarke, very good, but I wish 
you could have heard Brodribb say that." I used to hate 
that absent paragon, but did not know him until many 
years later, when I met him at Hain Friswell's house in 
Great Russell Street, and formed a close and long enduring 
friendship with Henry Irving. 

One word more on the subject. The habit of learning 
poetry, early acquired and diligently kept up, has been a 
comfort and companionship to me ever since, and the 
pieces I recited at Sussex Hall Coleridge's " Ode to Mont 
Blanc," Campbell's "Hallowed Ground," Bell's "Mary 
Queen of Scots," Halleck's " Marco Bozzaris," and Thacke- 
ray's " End of the Play" have been precious possessions. 

My studies at George Yard came to an end too soon. I 
was not yet fourteen, but three younger children had to be 
educated, and I might be of use in the shop, so in December 
1854 my school life closed. 


THE SHOP : 1855-1858 

ON January ist, 1855, I nrs t went to help in my father's 
shop, and my service there continued until nearly the end 
of the year 1858. It was not an unpleasant life, for although 
the hours were long and the monotony somewhat irksome, 
I had the constant pleasure of the companionship of my 
father, and I soon found time for a good deal of reading. 
The days were all alike, so I will describe one. At eight 
o'clock the shutters were taken down, and while the boy 
swept and dusted we had breakfast upstairs. At nine my 
father and I both went down and the door was unlocked. 
Then I got out the trays of the small and valuable goods 
which had been put in the safe the night before, and my 
father arranged the window while I brushed and dusted 
the things as I handed them to him. Afterwards, but 
before customers were expected, some of the plated goods 
were taken down and with whiting and brush and rouge 
and leather were made as bright as could be. Then came 
the time for going to the manufacturers. There were orders 
to be sent, goods to be fetched which had been sent for 
repair ; requests to be taken for goods wanted for inspec- 
tion ; patterns to be asked for, jobs to be taken for repair ; 
silver goods which had been sold had often to go to the 
engraver. To Eady 's in Red Lion Street, Clerkenwell ; to 
Pa ton the jeweller in Northampton Street ; to Kemp 
the cameo brooch-maker in Meredith Street, Clerkenwell ; 
to Hasluck the jeweller in Hatton Garden ; to Barnard the 
silversmith in King Edward Street ; to Day the little 
working jeweller in Paternoster Row ; to Stauffer the watch- 


26 THE SHOP [CHAP, iv 

maker in the Old Jewry this was a usual round. It would 
take me until dinner time. Then after dinner there were 
parcels to take to customers, to Edgar P. Stringer at W. S. 
Lindsay's in Austin Friars ; to H. W. Ripley at Mincing 
Lane ; to Thomas Treloar at 42, Ludgate Hill ; now and 
then as far as to Frederick Salmon, the great surgeon at 
Manchester Square. Of course I was not at first trusted 
with valuable parcels. But it was soon found that my 
errands were quickly done. In truth I hurried along the 
streets in dread of the rough boys who used to jeer at me 
and sometimes strike me in sheer wanton brutality, seeing 
that I was too small to resist. There is a shop in the 
Goswell Road, close by the western end of Old Street, which 
I never pass without recalling the day when at that spot a 
big boy snatched off my cap and flung it in the street, 
leaving me to pick it from the mud and laughing at my 
impotent anger. In the afternoon there was sometimes 
another visit to Clerkenwell. 

But generally there was nothing to do until three o'clock. 
The customers were so few that sometimes an hour would 
pass without the shop door being opened. That was my 
happy time. At the back of the shop counter against the 
wall was a shelf covered with red baize on which the odds 
and ends of the business, jobs repaired or waiting to be 
repaired, and goods obtained to be shown to customers, 
used to be placed. On that I would put my book. 

There was only one stool behind the counter, and indeed 
my father did not often indulge himself in the luxury of 
sitting down ; he thought it looked unbusinesslike if a 
customer came in. 

But at this baize-covered shelf I would stand for hours 
reading, chiefly poetry and history. I lived for a long 
time on Hume and Gibbon and Shakespeare, but Scott's 
novels were often in my hand, and my father did not mind 
what I read so long as I was quiet and ready to do anything 
that was wanted. 

At first he strongly objected to books in the shop. His 
scheme for my future was that I should work hard a,t 

1855-8] A WICKED ACT 27 

extending the trade, that some day I should be his partner, 
and that after he was gone I should carry on the business in 
the name which he was justly proud of having added .to 
the honourable roll of City tradesmen. But my mother had 
dreams of a different fate for me. My father submitted, as 
he almost always did, to her stronger will, and my reading 
was allowed to go on. 

There was one incident in my early days in the shop 
which I am reluctant to record. But I am telling the story 
of a real life, not an imaginary one, and I do not think I 
have the right to leave it out. One day, yielding to some 
temptation for which I cannot account, I stole some money, 
two or three shillings, from the till. I forget how the 
theft was found out, but it was, and that promptly. 

I suppose the loss was noticed, and that the book was 
found which I had bought with the stolen money. It was 
A Pair of Gloves, by J. Hain Friswell. I can recall the look 
of the white bound volume with the picture of a glove on 
the cover. I remember my father's anger and my mother's 
tears. What excuse was found for me I know not, but I 
do not think the punishment was severe. Perhaps they 
thought, and if they did they were right, that the recollec- 
tion of that sin would haunt me with a punishment which 
would last beyond their lives. 1 

My first move outside the home life came in a curious 
way. A Mr. Selfe, who was the parish clerk of one of the 
City Churches, used to hold a Bible class for young men at 
Salisbury Square, Fleet Street, in connection with the 
Church of England Young Men's Society, which was then 
just removing to a house in Fleet Street close to the Church 
of St. Dunstan and on its eastern side. 

1 It is a curious fact that the story of this book turned upon our stupid 
and cruel law which would not allow a wife to give evidence for her 
husband. In the story a man is charged with a crime. He has passed 
the night on which it was committed with the woman he loves. She 
sacrifices herself to save him, confesses she is not his wife, and so is able 
to give the evidence that procures his acquittal. It was not until forty 
years later that I was able to help in the removal of this stain on our 
administration of justice by the passing of the Criminal Evidence Act of 
5898. I hope I thereby made some atonement for my sin. 

28 THE SHOP [CHAP, iv 

I was taken to him by my father, who commended me to 
his care, and so I, for the first time, obtained access to a 
library. There was also a debating class which attracted 
me. But I soon got into trouble. 

The air was at that time full of the Romish controversy, 
and resentment at the Papal aggression of 1851 was very 
hot. Cardinal Wiseman had lately published his Appeal 
to the People of England, and the chief occupation of the 
debating class was to reply, to their own great satisfaction, 
to the arguments of this book. 

At each meeting a chapter was read and then the members 
in turn tried to answer it. The chief combatant on the 
Protestant side was a supercilious young watch-maker in 
Farringdon Street named Snosswell. 

One night I ventured to suggest that he had not the best 
of the argument, and thenceforward I was looked upon 
with some suspicion. Again, I found that the library did 
not contain a copy of Shakespeare's works. So in the 
suggestion book I proposed that one should be bought. 

Snosswell was shocked, and his name headed the list of 
those who protested against the purchase. The Society 
was pretty evenly divided, and the Committee endeavoured 
to please both sides by getting a copy of Bowdler's edition. 
I remained a member for some years and occasionally gave 
readings and lectures at the rooms, but I never got any 
real good out of the Society, except the friendship of Robert 
and George Warington, the sons of the resident chemist at 
the Apothecaries' Hall. In later years Robert was himself 
a distinguished chemist. George wrote under the title of 
" A Layman " the best answer to Bishop Colenso, was 
ordained by the Archbishop of Canterbury, wrote an 
admirable little book on " Inspiration/' and died early in 
South Africa, where he went to try to stave off the attack 
of consumption. 

It was not long before I found my way to the institution 
which did more for me than all the other agencies of self- 
culture of which I in turn availed myself. 

In the year 1849 two City clergymen, the Rev, Charles 


Mackenzie, rector of Allhallows, Lombard Street, and the 
Rev. Richard Whittington, a mathematical master at the 
Merchant-Taylors' School and Evening Lecturer at St. 
Peter's, Cornhill, formed a plan to establish in every city 
parish, as part of the Church organisation, evening classes 
for young men, where the ordinary subjects of commercial 
education should be very cheaply taught. 

In its original shape the scheme did not succeed. But 
a few years later such classes as had been formed were 
concentrated at Crosby Hall, Bishopsgate Street, which 
by the liberality of Miss Hackett, whom Mr. Mackenzie 
interested in the project, was rescued from its degradation 
as a furniture warehouse and turned into an admirably 
equipped literary institution. 

The two founders were both notable men, but of very 
different types. 

Charles Mackenzie was a churchman of the type then 
known as High and Dry. He was a poor preacher ; had 
no great literary capacity, nor the contagious enthusiasm 
of a great reformer. His manner was sedate, his speech 
deliberate ; there was nothing very attractive in the precision 
of his language and the calmness, almost severity, of his 
aspect. But he was a man of firm resolve, of boundless 
courage, and of inexhaustible patience, and he had deter- 
mined to give all that he had in time or money or influence 
to the service of the young men of the City of London. 
" Difficulties," said he one day, " are things to be got over." 
And from 1849 to the time of his death in 1888 the heavy 
burden of this work fell chiefly upon him. 

Richard Whittington was an earnest evangelical in 
religion, a quiet unassuming worker, gentle and sympa- 
thetic, who gave ungrudgingly all his scanty leisure to 
teaching and administering at the evening classes. Yet 
during the lifetime of Charles Mackenzie he would always 
try to modestly efface himself when any public oppor- 
tunity was given for recognising the great work which he 
and his colleague were doing. After Charles Mackenzie's 
cleath he took the post of Principal, and Chairman of the 

3<> THE SHOP [CHAP, iv 

Governing Body, and held the last-named office until I 
succeeded him in 1898. 

At these classes I worked steadily for about four years. 
One guinea a year gave (as it still gives) entrance to the 
library and reading-room, admission to the weekly lectures, 
and membership of one class of twelve lessons in any subject 
in each of the three terms of the year. The classes were 
well arranged and with well-trained teachers, and I set to 
work in earnest. English history, political economy, French, 
and elocution were my principal class subjects, and I be- 
came a regular attendant at the debating society. Some of 
the classes met at 6 or 7 o'clock, so when I went to them 
my day in the shop would end at tea-time instead of as on 
other days when the shop closed at 8 o'clock. 

But some kind friend lent me a reader's medal for the 
library of the London Institution in Finsbury Circus, and 
when shop was shut, if it was not a class night, I would run 
over there for an hour's reading before supper. 

My passion for work soon attracted attention, and Mr. 
Mackenzie and Mr. Whittington both took the kindliest 
interest in me. 

I have a copy of the British Poets in four volumes, in the 
first of which is written : 

Presented to Edward George Clarke by his most sincere 
friend the Rev. Richard Whittington in testimony of the 
pleasure he experienced at his distinguished position in a 
recent examination at Crosby Hall, May 1856. 

That prize sowed the harvest of many others. 

I had thus distinguished myself at the evening classes, 
and I looked round for a larger world to conquer. The 
same year brought a great opportunity. 

In 1856 the Society of Arts, inspired by Harry Chester 
and Peter Le Neve Foster, set on foot a system of examina- 
tions open to all members of evening classes or mechanics' 
institutions, and they offered handsome prizes in money. 

I with some of my friends at Crosby Hall determined to 
compete, and we were examined at the Society's rooms in 


John Street, Adelphi. At this first examination fortunately 
for me there were not many competitors. I went up in 
English Literature and English History. Hamlet was the 
prescribed play of Shakespeare, and we had to write an 
essay upon it. I do not know where I got the idea, it 
could hardly have been original in a boy of fifteen, but I 
argued, what I firmly believe to-day, that the secret of the 
play is to be found in the fact that Hamlet had seduced 
Ophelia. I remember nothing more about the examination, 
but when the prize list came out the Crosby Hall Evening 
Classes had beaten all other institutions ; we had three 
prizes out of six. I was first in English Literature ; Thomas 
Brodribb (no relation to Irving) was prizeman in French, 
and Thomas Ross Howard took the prize in German. It 
was a time of great joy at home. Much was said publicly 
about the examinations, and the prizes were distributed 
by Sir John Pakington before a crowded room at the Society 
of Arts. 

My prize was ten guineas, a quite magnificent sum ; and 
I had much consideration as to what I should do with it. 
The decision was left entirely to me, so I spent half the 
money upon an edition of Hallam's works in ten volumes, 
and the other half was reserved for a walking trip round 
the coast of Kent in the autumn of 1858. 

It seems to me now that at seventeen I was rather young 
to start out alone upon a walking trip, and I dare say my 
parents thought so too, for the dear father came down to 
Eastbourne with me by a Sunday excursion train to set me 
on my journey, and see that I was properly housed for the 
first night. What a delight that journey was! With a 
bag slung over my shoulder I marched along in the pride 
of independence. From Eastbourne towards Hastings I 
walked, lingering so long at Pevensey that the night fell 
and the great comet spread its bright scimitar in the heavens, 
and I lost my way and had to get a friendly coast-guardsman 
from a Martello tower to guide me to the little country 
railway station at Bexhill. 

Next morning to Hurstmonceux, thinking much of Sterling 

32 THE SHOP [CHAP, iv 

(for I already knew the charming life which was almost the 
only thing Carlyle ever wrote in decent English), and on to 
Battle and so back to Hastings. 

Thence the next day to Lovers' Seat and Fairlight Glen, 
and across the hilts to Winchelsea and Rye. The train 
was taken from Ashford to Folkestone, for the road would 
have been long and dull. But thenceforward I kept to my 
walking, and Dover, Ramsgate, Broadstairs, and Margate 
were taken in turn. 

I wrote a letter home every night, slept like a top, 
spouted poetry to myself as I walked along, and came 
back in about a week's time with memories that have lasted 
a lifetime, and with a good deal of my five guineas left. 

That was the first of many tramps. In Surrey and Kent 
and Berkshire ; twice in Wales ; in Devon and Wilts and 
Cornwall ; round the western coast from Lynton to the 
Lizard Point, I have walked with a knapsack on my back, 
and have learned to know and love our dear and beautiful 
island as only one who walks alone can do. 

Two people can no more see a landscape than they can 
write a poem. You either know your companion, and 
then you talk about the things you talk of every day and 
your brain gets no change of air, or you do not know him, 
and then you most likely do not talk at all and only in- 
convenience each other by your difference in plans and 
tastes. One hardly ever sees a knapsack now. 

I grieve to note that a pleasure so cheap, so healthful, 
so full of independence, is so little known. 

I now set to work with more spirit and hope than ever. 
That winter the spaces of leisure at the baize-covered 
shelf and the hours after the shop was closed were spent 
in hard study, and when the next examination of the Society 
of Arts was held in 1857 I was first prizeman in English 
History, and had a certificate in Political Economy. 

The year 1858 brought its examination and its success. 
In that year the University of Oxford resolved to hold 
examinations open to those who were not members of the 
University, and to confer the new title of Associate in Arts. 


Directly the date and subjects were announced I set to 
work, and for several months devoted my studies to this 

I was to be examined at Oxford, and when the time came 
my father took me there and found lodging for me at the 
Maidenhead Hotel, Turl Street. What a glorious time it 
was for a London boy! The colleges and gardens and 
libraries were all open to candidates. Dr. Sewell of New 
(I did not see him afterwards until forty-four years later 
when I went to Oxford to enter my younger son at Magdalen 
and found him Master of his old college) was the prime- 
mover in the new scheme and its indefatigable secretary, 
and Professor Donkin entertained us at a soiree at the 
Bodleian. There were three or four days of examination, 
and then I went home and waited anxiously for the result. 
It was a success beyond all expectation. 

One morning the list was in the paper, and a letter came 
at the same time to tell me that I was first in order of merit 
in the first division, and so had the honour of being the 
first Associate in Arts of the University of Oxford. 

I rushed over to the old school, and the eyes of my dear 
old teacher filled with joy as he pressed my hand ; and then 
I asked for a half-holiday for the school, and the boys 
shouted and rattled the covers of their desks, and another 
step in my career was won. 

But that year was a momentous one to me in another 
respect. I met and fell in love with the girl who afterwards 
became my wife. It happened in this wise. The members 
of the evening classes used to have an annual excursion. 
We usually went to the Rye House, Broxbourne, but in this 
year we chose Hampton Court. My friend, Tom Howard, 
whom I have mentioned as one of the three prizemen in 
1856, brought with him two cousins, Annie and Fanny 
Mitchell. From the former, somewhat I fear to his annoy- 
ance, I could not keep away. We wandered through the 
rooms and gardens of Hampton Court Palace ; we dined 
at the Castle Hotel at Molesey and danced in the garden 
behind the house. I thought (and I think now) that I had 

34 THE SHOP [CHAP, iv 

never seen any one so lovable and so sweet. She was very 
pretty, with dark hair and beautiful dark brown eyes, a 
serious, thoughtful face, lighting up into radiant smiles ; 
tiny hands and feet ; her figure small and trim ; her carriage 
easy and graceful ; her voice low and musical ; her dancing 

As the evening drew on some one suggested that we 
should walk beside the river on the Palace side to Kingston 
and there take train to London. I remember that walk as 
if it were yesterday. For me the stars had never shone so 
brightly, the river had never looked so sweet. But at 
Kingston there was dismay. No one of us had known 
exactly how far from Kingston Bridge the station was. We 
hurried when we thought our time was short, but without 
avail. When we reached the station the last train was 
gone. We had to club together our remaining funds and 
find a flyman who would drive us to London. 

The girls were frightened, and I think Howard and I 
were rather nervous as to what would happen, but we 
reached home soon after midnight and found our people, 
who had been sending from house to house for news, so 
relieved at our safety that they were not inclined to scold. 
As we drove home that night, there came into my mind 
the thought that my life would be a happy one if I could 
gain Anne Mitchell for my wife. 

That thought was never dispossessed or even disturbed. 
There were difficulties and some estrangements. When we 
met I was only seventeen, while she was three years older, 
and at that age the difference looked serious. 

But that day gave me " the noblest master under heaven 
the maiden passion for a maid," and from that day no 
love for another entered my heart. 

Thenceforward her sweet face shone through all my 
hopes and ambitions. Before I was nineteen I was engaged 
to her, and seven years later I found in the happiness of 
marriage the reward and justification of my long faithful- 

In that autumn a great change took place in the home 


life. The lease of the house at King William Street came 
to an end, and the owner asked a rent nearly double what 
my father had been paying. The business could not sup- 
port such a burden, so a lease was taken of No. 38 (now 
No. 71) Moorgate .Street, where the fact that the first floor 
was let to a solicitor brought the rent within a reasonable 
figure. So in September the change was made. It was a 
pain to leave the home in which our happy childhood had 
been spent, but to me the change was very welcome. Hence- 
forth it would not be necessary for me to sleep in the shop. 

To sleep in a bedroom, where I could study at night, and 
where I had my books, and where my eyes did not open 
every morning to the occupation and association which were 
least congenial to me, was a delight no one could measure 
who had not gone through my experience of the last ten 
years. One evening in September the stock in King William 
Street, amazingly small in bulk, was put on a hand cart, 
and my father and I walked beside it up to Moorgate Street. 
There all was ready ; some new stock had been got in, and 
next morning we were in the new shop, hoping that the old 
customers would follow and new ones soon be found. 

But I was not long there. Gradually my dear father had 
been reconciling himself to the inevitable separation. 

It was clear that I should not always stay in the trivial 
labours and possibilities of the shop. So he had become 
somewhat resigned to the idea that he would soon lose me, 
and that he must look forward to finding his partner and 
successor in my youngest brother. Of my other brother 
Joseph I shall have something to say by and by. 

Now at the very moment that I needed it one of the 
strange and unlooked-for opportunities of my life displayed 
itself. I had won a prize at the first examination of the 
Society of Arts ; I had become the first Associate in Arts 
at the first Oxford middle-class examination ; now for the 
first time an open examination was to be held for some 
Government clerkships. 

Lord Stanley was Secretary of State for India, and he 
offered eight writerships in the India Office for competition. 

36 THE SHOP [CHAP, iv 

The salary was 80, but there were allowances and extras 
which would probably raise it to 150. When the applica- 
tions came in the authorities were alarmed. 

Seven hundred candidates offered themselves. Of these 
three hundred withdrew before the day of examination, but 
four hundred were actually examined at Willis's Rooms. 
I had been working my hardest. There was no question 
now of the claims of the shop. Those were set aside, and 
for two months I was at work from eight in the morning to 
twelve at night. The whole family tried to help me. There 
was a little book called A Guide to English History. It 
was crammed with dates. All the chief events in every 
reign were very briefly stated, and at the end of each reign 
there was a list of the notable men who flourished in it with 
the dates of their birth and death. I knew that book by 
heart from cover to cover. My sister Fanny used to ex- 
amine me in it, and before the day of trial I was master of 
every date. 

No other such examination has ever been seen. In the 
great ballroom at Willis's Rooms the four hundred candi- 
dates sat each at a separate desk. 

Inspectors were walking round to see that there was no 
copying and that no books were used. 

In the music gallery stood a group of examiners, and if 
any candidate wanted to ask a question he had to stand up 
and call out his number and an inspector would take his 

It was a great relief when the strain was over, but there 
was a month of anxiety before I heard that I had been 
successful and had taken the seventh place on the list. The 
winners were allowed to take up extra subjects, and I was 
examined and got certificates in English History and 
Political Economy. 

When I went to the Office of the Civil Service Commis- 
sioners for this purpose I was told some particulars of the 
examination. It had cost about 900. 

The limits of the age being wide, seventeen to twenty- 
five, a good many graduates of Oxford and Cambridge and 

1855-8] I LEAVE THE SHOP 37 

London had come forward, and there were a dozen or so of 
schoolmasters among the candidates. 

In the English Literature paper we had been asked to 
translate Hamlet's soliloquy into prose. 

An examiner told me that more than a dozen of the 
competitors had explained the phrase " When he himself 
might his quietus make with a bare bodkin" to mean that 
it was foolish of Hamlet to trouble himself so much when he 
might earn a decent living by tailoring. 

Now that I had succeeded in so hard and so public a 
competition the home was joyful indeed. 

The dear father was not quite consoled. It was not un- 
important that I should be able in future to contribute to 
the cost of the household, but after having me with him 
daily for four years, I do not wonder that he thought the 
shop would be dull and lonely ; but he bore up bravely, 
and my days as a silversmith and jeweller were over. 

A party was given to celebrate the event. Robert 
Pottle and his sisters were there. Tom Howard brought his 
two cousins, and my father and mother saw Annie Mitchell 
for the first time. 



THERE is a part of my life, and that of chief importance, 
which cannot be dealt with in a chronological record of 
events. It is the history of influences rather than of events, 
a history which must be told if the story of my life is to be 
complete, and which would be frittered away if I tried to 
interweave it with the narrative which is found in other 
chapters of this book. I speak of the growth of those 
inclinations and tastes for literature and politics and law 
which began to colour my thoughts and dictate my occupa- 
tions at a very early age, and which were gradually, and 
during the course of some years, strengthening their hold 
upon me until they determined the course and objects of 
my life. In every young life there is a period in which the 
mind and still more the moral character is in its most 
sensitive and receptive condition ; when books and friend- 
ships and the example of others have their strongest and 
most abiding influence ; when the intellect and the soul 
are still soft enough to receive, and are yet firm enough to 
retain, the impressions which harden into habits of thought 
and action. That period varies in length with different 
natures and with some begins very early. I think that 
with me it was from the age of ten to the age of twenty, 
and it was my happy fortune that these ten years of my life 
coincided with one of the most notable periods in the literary 
history of this country. The years from 1850 to 1860 
were the golden decade of modern English Literature. 
During the reigns of George IV and William IV and in the 
early years of Victoria there had been a marked falling off 
in our imaginative literature both in poetry and prose. 




Keats died in 1821, Shelley in 1822 ; Byron in 1824. Sir 
Walter Scott lived until 1832, but he wrote no poetry of 
importance after 1815 ; and although Wordsworth did not 
die until 1850 the same may be said of him. 

During the twenty years which followed the most pro- 
minent names in poetry were those of Mrs. Norton, Thomas 
Hood, and Talfourd, and although each of them left us some 
fine poetry, neither could be placed in the first rank. 

Again in fiction there had been no great production. 

Jane Austen died in 1817 ; and Scott wrote nothing 
worthy of his powers after Quentin Durward in 1823. 

There had indeed in the interval appeared the chief 
works of two most remarkable men, whose literary fame 
would have been greater if their lives had not been so largely 
devoted to public affairs. They were Edward Bulwer 
Lytton and Benjamin Disraeli. There was the great dis- 
tinction between them that while Bulwer Lytton was a 
novelist who took to politics, Disraeli was a politician who 
in his youth, and in the occasional leisure of his later life, 
sketched the lighter side and the picturesque aspects of the 
political struggle. 

Bulwer Lytton did not take seriously to politics until he 
was nearly fifty years old, and by that time he had dis- 
tinguished himself in four distinct styles of fiction the 
historic, the natural, the sentimental, and the mystic. 
Rienzi, 1835, The Caxtons, 1848, Ernest Maltravers, 1837, 
and Zanoni, 1842, stand at the head of the different groups. 
All are produced by an artist who stands aloof from all the 
characters he creates, and studies only to give to his work 
artistic completeness and finish. 

But every early work of Disraeli is the expression of a 
bright, eager soul devoted to the study of all the complex 
problems of political society, and striving to set forth in the 
scenes and studies of fiction the principles which were 
afterwards applied with magnificent results to the conduct 
of public affairs. And considered only as works of art the 
great trilogy of Coningsby, Sybil, and Tancred stand very 
high in our literature. 


To me they were very early a delight and an education ; 
and my earliest inclinations for political work, the desire 
for power in public affairs which seized me early and has 
always dominated my life, only to meet with repeated and 
final disappointment, was gained by me from the great 
teacher who has been the constant guide of my public 
action, and the only political leader I have ever known to 
whom I would at any time have submitted myself in the 
firm conviction that where I could not agree with him in 
opinion he was so far more likely to be right that obedience 
to his judgement would be the wisest exercise of my own. 

The opening of the second half of the nineteenth century 
found us with a group of writers who were nearing, or had 
but lately reached, that age of thirty-seven which marks 
the attainment of the highest level of the faculties of man. 
Alfred Tennyson was 41 ; Mrs. Gaskell 40 ; Thackeray 
39 ; Browning and Charles Dickens 38 ; Charles Reade 
36 ; Anthony Trollope 35 ; Charlotte Bronte 34 ; Froude 
32 ; George Eliot, Charles Kingsley, and John Ruskin 31. 

Carlyle, Macaulay, Bulwer Lytton, Disraeli, and Mrs. 
Browning were seniors ; Matthew Arnold, Coventry Pat- 
more, Wilkie Collins and George Meredith had just reached 
manhood ; Robert Lytton was a youth of eighteen. 

These were the writers by whose works my boyhood was 
trained and inspired ; and during the ten years when I was 
most receptive there poured forth from the Press a series of 
works, almost every one of which I remember to have read 
soon after its publication. 

It is well to give a list, for there has been no other such 
period in all the long history of our literature. 

1850. Pendennis, In Memoriam, Christmas Eve and Easter 

Day, Alton Locke. 

1851. Life of Sterling, Stones of Venice, Yeast. 

1852. Esmond, Peg Woffington, Ode to Duke of Wellington. 

1853. Hypatia, Bleak House, Ruth, My Novel, Tamer ton 

Church Tower. 

1854. The New comes, Hard Times, The Angel in the House. 


1855. Maud, Men and Women, Westward Ho, The Vir- 

ginians, Macaulay's History, Vols. Ill & IV, The 
Warden, Clytemnestra. 

1856. Fronde's History, Vols. I & II, Scenes of Clerical Life, 

Little Dorrit. 

1857. Two Years Ago, Aurora Leigh, The Dead Secret. 

1858. Andromeda, What will he do with it, Froude's History, 

Vols. Ill & IV. 

1859. Idylls of the King, Adam Bede, Tale of Two Cities, 

The Ordeal of Richard Feverel. 

Of these thirty-seven works it is not too much to say that 
at least twenty have taken their places among the master- 
pieces of our literature, and that during the half-century 
which has tested and confirmed their claim no one of these 
twenty has in its own class been excelled. It was good to be 
living in those days. How well I remember the excitement 
month by month of seeing the green-covered parts in which 
the works of Dickens appeared, and the yellow covers which 
Thackeray had adopted for his ; and the tumult in Pater- 
noster Row when Longman gave out to the trade the two 
volumes of Macaulay's History. Those happy years when 
my young intellect had not been harnessed and bound to 
a political party or a professional calling, when the novel 
and the poem and the history were like the varied flowers 
of a great garden in which it was my privilege to walk, were 
years of intense enjoyment. The joy of breathing such an 
atmosphere, of living with such friends, who year by year 
were filling my young mind with incidents having as essential 
truth in the histories we call fiction, as in the fiction we 
call history, and with noble thoughts, whose beauty of 
literary form kept them in the mind, so that memory was 
always sounding the strong, pure note to which all one's 
thoughts and hopes and aspirations became as by nature 

There has been much in my life that has been poor and 
trivial, and little worthy of one to whom this treasure and 
delight was given, but it would have been weaker and poorer 


by far if I had not in those days of receptive boyhood had 
. round me the influences of this noble literature. 

It gave me, of course, the desire to be myself an author. 
During the second year of my stay at the Edmonton 
Boarding-school, I arranged with another young boy that 
we would issue a monthly magazine, which I was to write and 
he to illustrate, to circulate in the school among subscribers 
who were, I think, to pay their subscriptions in steel pens. 
Before I was fifteen I had written a play in five acts called 
The Serf (not, I need hardly say, the play of that name which 
was afterwards produced at the Olympic and acted by Kate 
Terry and Henry Neville) and sent it to my good friend 
William Creswick, one of the lessees of the Surrey Theatre. 
He returned it as unsuitable, and I destroyed the manuscript, 
and never again attempted the drama. Then later came 
the Journal of the Evening Classes of which I speak else- 
where, and my association with The Morning Herald and 
Standard and with Henry Morley and The Examiner. In- 
deed while I was a student at Lincoln's Inn some of my 
friends advised me to turn to literature as a calling, and not 
risk the doubtful and heavy labours of the Bar. 

I remember a little consultation at J. M. Ludlow's 
chambers at 3, Old Square, where Vernon and Godfrey 
Lushington, and, I think, Tom Hughes, were present and 
F. J. Furnivall tried to persuade me to take up the pro- 
fession of letters, and told me how he had been at the Bar 
over ten years and had never made enough to pay the 
laundress for keeping his chambers tidy. Had I taken his 
advice I should probably have been better able to write 
a life, but there would have been no life of my own worth 
writing. The first definite impression made upon me by 
literature which had reference to the future work of my 
life was political. Coningsby and Sybil together made me 
a politician. Coningsby set me among the great actors on 
the political stage ; and gave me hope that there I might 
some day play my part. Sybil, dealing as it does with the 
noblest principles and loftiest aims of political action, 
purified that hope from the mere desire for personal success 

1850-60] MY FIRST PURCHASE .43 

and display and reward, and filled me with a worthier 
ambition. The key-note of Sybil is to be found in the 
sentences which close the fourteenth chapter, where the 
writer declared that the Tory party in a parliamentary 
sense was dead (and this was true in 1845 as it was true in 
1906), but that it " still lived in the thought and sentiment 
and consecrated memory of the English nation/ 1 and fore- 
told that it " would yet rise from the tomb to bring back 
strength to the Crown, liberty to the subject and to announce 
that Power has only one duty, to secure the social welfare of 
the People/' 

The last words I spoke in the House of Commons may 
stand as proof that the teachings of my great master were 
not forgotten or obscured in fifty years of strenuous life. 

I hope that the Tory party will regain its influence, for 
I believe its principles are an important and even essential 
part of our national life. And I trust our leaders will 
recognise that when we are anxious to extend the area of 
our trade and gain for ourselves Imperial renown, we must 
never forget that the first duty of a statesman is to the 
poorest of the people, and that to every statesman worthy 
of the name the welfare of the people is the highest law. 1 

I have no doubt that it was Coningsby which prompted 
my choice of the first book I ever bought with my own 
money. That was Brougham's Lives of the Statesmen of 
the Reign of George III. I well remember having a present 
of five shillings given me, and going off to a bookseller's 
shop in Holborn to give 45. 6d. for three little volumes, 
still in my possession, which contain the best literary work 
which that strange genius ever produced. 

I had only left school six months when I went to my first 
political meeting. The scandalous mismanagement by the 
War Office in the early stages of the Crimean War called 
into existence the Administrative Reform Association, which 
soon became very powerful. 

A meeting was announced to be held at Drury Lane 

i March i2th, 1906, Hansard, 4th Series, 153, 1048. Selected Speeches, 16 


Theatre on June 23rd, 1855, at which Charles Dickens would 
speak. I went to the office of the Association, where the 
Post Office now is in King William Street, to ask for a ticket. 
I was thin and small for my age, and the secretary called 
some of the Committee from their room, and they looked 
with amused curiosity at their youngest recruit. 

But I got my ticket, and struggled in the crowd up the 
gallery stairs, and saw a meeting which I think I have never 
seen equalled for intense and angry enthusiasm. Dickens 
had never before spoken on a political platform, and had 
an extraordinary reception and an extraordinary success. 

An attractive presence, a melodious and penetrating 
voice, gestures restrained but effective, gave force to a 
speech elaborately prepared and full of brilliant phrases. 
Palmers ton was the " comic old gentleman." Speaking of 
the attacks made by the soldiers in the House of Commons 
upon Austen Henry Layard " Assyrian Layard " as he 
was called he said that " whereas in Spain the bull rushes 
at the scarlet, in England the scarlet rushes at the bull." 
I quote the closing passage "Gentlemen, centuries ago, 
before arithmetic was invented, our national accounts were 
kept by cutting notches upon bits of wood called Exchequer 
tallies. The years passed by. Cocker was born and died ; 
Walkinghame was born and died ; and at last some 
adventurous genius suggested that it would be as well to 
keep our accounts with pen and paper. After much re- 
sistance and much gloomy foreboding of evil the change 
was made. But what was to be done with the tallies. It 
would be contrary to the traditions of the public service 
to put them to any useful purpose, so they were packed 
away under the Houses of Parliament. Presently a flue 
was overheated, there was plenty of wood in the Exchequer 
tallies to carry on the fire, and the Houses of Parliament 
were burned down. The national architect was called in, 
and a new palace was built. We are now in the second 
million of its cost, the national pig has not yet got over 
the stile, and the little old woman Britannia will not 
go home to-night." 

1850-60] EARLY DREAMS 45 

It was on April 29th, 1856, that I first saw the House of 
Commons. I dare say Mr. John Masterman, whose bank 
was in Nicholas Lane and who was a customer and friend 
of my father, gave me an order, and I heard a debate upon 
the siege of Kars, in which Layard and Sir Seymour Fitz- 
gerald took part. 

Next year there was a far more interesting and important 
incident, for on March igth, 1857, I t m ^ a crowded room 
at the London Tavern, Bishopsgate Street, where Lord John 
Russell was addressing an election meeting. 

Mr. Raikes Currie had been brought from Northampton 
by the Liberals who wished to oust Lord John from the 
representation of the City because he had joined the coalition 
of Conservatives and Manchester Radicals, who had carried 
a vote of censure upon the Palmerston government for 
going to war with China 

It was at this meeting that Lord John Russell described 
his opponent as " a young man from the country/' a phrase 
which was used as a line of a popular comic song, and was 
a catchword for many years. I stood at the door to see 
Lord John come out, and was rejoiced to find that he was 
but little taller than myself. There had indeed been some 
slight disturbance at the meeting, for the assembled electors 
wanted to see their candidate as well as to hear him, and 
were not satisfied until his little lordship was persuaded to 
stand on a chair and so remedy his deficiency in height. 
In the street the ballad sellers were singing and selling a 
doggerel ballad the chorus of which ran something like this : 

They know me at Tavistock, Bandon and Thetford, 
They know me at Stroud, and South Devon and Retford ; 
I'm the dear little son of the old Duke of Bedford, 
I'm little finality John. 

I have very little doubt that as I went back to the shop 
I had already in my mind the thought that I might some 
day be myself member for the City of London. The hope 
never left me ; and it was splendidly fulfilled forty-nine 
years later when 16,019 citizens (57 per cent, of the whole 
number of the electors) voted- for me and gave me the 


highest honour of my whole life, by making me the senior 
member for the greatest city in the world, by the largest 
vote which had ever been given to a candidate in that con- 

At that time, to any one but myself the dream would have 
seemed absurd. But to me the only real question was how 
I should begin the journey, and the names of Brougham 
and Lyndhurst suggested the way. It was not money I was 
thinking of then or at any time. I had no idea of the 
enormous rewards which, as I now know, are given to the 
successful advocate ; but my ambition looked to a career 
of public life, the membership of one of the legislative 
chambers, and the sharing in the councils of a great political 

Nor did I then realise how delightful, how full of intel- 
lectual interest, how rich in the pleasantest of surroundings 
and companionship, the profession of the law in its more 
favoured branch would be. 

All I knew was that the Bar was the only road by which I 
could hope to make my way into political life at an age 
when my ideals and energies would still be fresh. 

The way looked difficult, but that was a reason for be- 
ginning at once. In another chapter I tell the story of ,my 
studies and examinations, but there are a few other parts 
of my preparation of which I must speak here. Public 
speaking, not merely the preparation of speeches, but the 
habit of speaking in large rooms, and to audiences of different 
characters, was obviously essential. So in the year 1858 I 
offered to deliver one of a series of Thursday evening lectures 
at Crosby Hall. I lectured on Joan of Arc, and spoke for 
more than an hour without using any notes. It seems to 
me now that it was rather a daring attempt for a boy of 
seventeen, but on the whole it was successful. 

There were two criticisms upon it. My dear mother was, 
I think, rather proud of the feat, but she complained of a 
constant hesitation of speech which made her nervous from 
sentence to sentence lest I should break down. The other 
criticism came from a fellow student who was a great 



musician, one D. C. Stevens, who soon afterwards went to 
South Africa and became one of the Pioneers of the Rand. 
He told me my voice was harsh and unmusical, and advised 
me to take to singing. I followed his advice, and for some 
years was a constant attendant at a choral society. I have 
no doubt I gained much advantage thereby. It is only by 
singing that one learns to use easily different tones in 
speaking, and so avoids the painful monotony which in 
Court or Church so often encourages sleep. 

The hesitation could only be cured by practice, so for 
several years I sought opportunities of delivering lectures 
in all sorts of places and on very different subjects. Mary 
Queen of Scots ; Sir Walter Scott ; Independence ; Dean 
Swift and Lord Bolingbroke were, with Joan of Arc and 
Richard Neville, the Last of the Barons, my favourite 
subjects, and a steady persistence in this practice quite 
cured my nervous hesitation. 

My hopes of some day getting to the Bar were much 
strengthened by the accidental discovery that some student- 
ships existed which seemed exactly adapted to meet my case. 

On the steep slope of Holborn which ran down to the 
bottom of Snow Hill, where now the Holborn Viaduct 
crosses the valley, there used to be some second-hand book 
shops, with open trays, and, loitering at one of these, I picked 
up a volume containing the history of Lincoln's Inn by one 
Spilsbury, the librarian of the Society. Turning over the 
leaves I came upon a statement that one Christopher 
Tancred of Whixley Hall, Yorkshire, had bequeathed large 
funds for the founding of twelve studentships, four in 
Divinity, four in Physic, and four in Law. 

He had been a bencher of Lincoln's Inn, and his will pre- 
scribed that the students in law should be between eighteen 
and twenty-three years of age, unmarried and members of 
the Church of England, and that they should declare that 
they intended to practise in the Common Law Courts but 
were unable without help of this nature to obtain the needful 
education. This seemed the very thing for me, and I went 
back to my studies in high spirits, feeling quite sure that 


when the time came I should have the assistance of Chris- 
topher Tancred in making my difficult way to the Bar. 

This chapter, in which I have dwelt upon the influences 
which during the years from 1850 to 1860 were moulding 
my character and determining my career, may fitly close 
with a description of an incident which set, as it were, a 
seal on both. 

In 1860 Lord Lyndhurst still lived, the Nestor of politics, 
and I heard one day that he was expected to speak in the 
House of Lords. So I wrote to Lord Derby to ask for 
admission to the debate, and there came back a letter 
franked by him and containing an order, and on May 2ist 
I was early in the Gallery of the House. On the back of the 
front bench on the right of the Woolsack a rail had been 
built, and presently Lord Lyndhurst, received with every 
mark of affectionate respect, came to his place. I remember 
little of the debate, but no one could forget the scene while 
he was speaking. He had reached eighty-eight years of age 
that day ; he could not stand unaided, so the rail had been 
built for him, and folding his arms across his chest he hung 
upon it while he spoke. But the voice was full and resonant, 
the argument was closely reasoned, and the perfectly turned 
sentences were rhythmical and pointed. Soon after the 
speech was finished he left the House, and the scene was a 
curious one. In Kenelm Chillingly Lord Lytton advises 
a young man to take at an early age to a thirty-five years' old 
wig, because he will be able to wear that at any age. Lynd- 
hurst had done that, and the worn and deep-lined face 
looked out from under brown curling locks, and he left 
the chamber hanging on the arm of Lord Ellenborough, the 
great Governor-General of India, whose lion-like head 
with its splendid sweep of snow-white hair made a strange 

The Peers rose from their seats and cheered with unwonted 
vehemence as he passed among them, and I saw to what a 
height of public dignity and regard it was possible for a 
barrister to rise without the help of ancestral renown or 
family influence. 



THE INDIA HOUSE I 1859-1860 

IT was in February 1859, J ust after my eighteenth birthday, 
that I entered on my duties at the old East India House 
in Leadenhall Street which was associated with so much of 
the history and growth of our Indian Empire ; the house 
from which Clive had set forth in 1743 ; the house to which 
Warren Hastings had returned in 1785 from his great pro- 
consulship, when he was the hero of the day, and had not 
yet been made the object of a political attack. In the 
examination I had done particularly well in arithmetic, and 
I had taken certain extra certificates, so I was given my 
choice of the department in which I would serve ; and I 
chose the Accountants' branch. This was housed on the 
first floor of the building, and I was placed at a pleasant 
desk close to a large window overlooking the central court- 
yard of the house. Quite close to me was the desk which 
had been occupied thirty-five years before by Charles Lamb, 
about whose kindly and genial nature and shockingly un- 
businesslike habits my colleagues who had known him had 
many a story to tell. The porters used to make many half- 
crowns by showing to American visitors a chair which they 
declared, quite untruly, to have been that which he sat in, 
and by selling the very last quill pen which had been pre- 
served of those which he had used. 

My work was easy, but quite mechanical and monotonous. 
It consisted for the most part in copying draft minutes and 
letters and in copying into a large ledger the pay warrants 
which had been drawn up in another part of the office. 

The entry to be made was like this : 

Name. Pay. Widows' Fund. Orphan Allowance. Amount. 

Smith, Lt.-Col. R. 150 7.10 3.15 *3 8 i5 



Forty-two of these entries went upon the page, and then 
the leaf was turned over and forty- two more were begun. 

It seemed almost a humiliation, after working for months 
and passing a great examination which was to mark the 
opening of the Civil Service to men of exceptional ability, 
to be set down to a task which any fairly taught lad of 
fifteen could have done as well as I, but my new position 
had a compensation which made me quite content. 

I soon found out not only that in the ordinary hours 
of work, ten o'clock to four, I could earn an income of at 
least 150 a year, but that there was no objection to my 
working overtime and so making a very large addition to 
this amount. My immediate superior was a Mr. Charles 
Davis, an excellent clerk, but a rather rough and not very 
good-tempered man, whom I mention here only for the sake 
of quoting a thing which he once said to me and which I 
have always usefully remembered. I have an impression 
that he told me that the great Duke of Wellington was the 
author. I had made some excuse for a fault of which he 
complained, and he said, " A man who is good at excuses is 
never good at anything else." 

The head of the room, a very kind old gentleman named 
Waghorn, who had been retired from the East India Com- 
pany's service in 1834 an( i "then reappointed, and since that 
date had enjoyed a substantial pension and a substantial 
salary, was much annoyed when he happened to hear that 
I was attending classes in the evening, and gave me a solemn 
lecture on the duty of giving all my energies to the Govern- 
ment which employed me and so on ; but he soon became 
my very good friend, and encouraged me to do as much as 
I could of the extra work, for which he had to initial my 

I used to go to the office at nine and stay until five or 
half-past five, and the overtime pay which I was able to 
earn during these hours came to no less than 100 in a year. 
I had good reason to be content. At this rate I could help 
my parents with a substantial payment for living at home, 
and three or four years would be sufficient to set aside the 

1859-60] KING'S COLLEGE 51 

money I wanted for my education for the Bar. And I was 
young enough to make the delay of three or four years seem 
quite unimportant. I knew I needed at least that time 
to equip myself with knowledge which I had so far had no 
opportunity of acquiring. I was thinking especially of the 
classical languages. 

I carried in my mind the firm resolve to become a Tancred 
student, and I knew that the Latin language and certain 
Latin authors were the chief subjects of that examination. 
So I determined to give myself to these studies ; and leaving 
the classes at Crosby Hall, which were of a commercial 
character, I became a matriculated student at the evening 
classes lately opened at King's College in the Strand. A 
matriculated student had to attend four classes besides the 
divinity lectures, so I chose two easy subjects, English 
Literature, taught by Henry Morley, and English History, 
taught by Henry Wace (now Dean of Canterbury), and the 
classes in Greek and Latin to which I meant to give almost 
all my work. The Greek I gave up at the end of a single 
term. It was not difficult, and of course I soon mastered 
the simpler parts of the grammar, but I was quite satisfied 
that it would be of no practical use to me, and I have never 
seen reason to regret having given it up. Latin, of course, 
I was obliged to learn, so I continued the study with a 
diligence which if it had been kept up for the three or four 
years for which I was planning would, I dare say, have 
given me a fair knowledge of the language and might, indeed, 
have enabled me to do what most of our university graduates 
cannot do that is, read it with sufficient ease to enjoy 
the literary beauties of the classic authors. 

Before I pass away from the subject of King's College I 
must mention a friendship made there which was of great 
value to me. Henry Morley, the lecturer on English Litera- 
ture, was one of the most delightful and one of the noblest 
souled men who ever lived. 

Of his works I need not speak. His history of English 
literature is by far the best book of its kind in our language. 
He was among the first to procure the issue of the best 


books at prices so low that nearly half a century of improve- 
ment and competition has not reduced them. A man of 
fine presence, fair haired and fresh complexioned ; strong, 
alert, cheerful; his blue-grey eyes lighting with love and 
humour, or flashing with anger at any story of meanness or 
of fraud ; brave as a lion, gentle as a woman, he fought hard 
for truth and justice, careless of toil or obloquy, or of the 
sordid considerations which so often cramp the energies and 
corrupt the souls of some of the best among us. He was one 
whose friendship was so delightful a privilege that I have 
been thankful all my life for having been brought under his 
influence. If in my own life there have been times when 
voices of self-interest have tempted me to be unfaithful 
to the truth as I saw it, the inspiration of the teaching and 
example of Henry Morley have, I trust and believe, helped 
me to keep to the path of duty. He gave me his kindest 
friendship. I used (often with John George Watts, another 
of his pupils at King's College, who lived at Brunswick 
Square, Camberwell, and was a fish salesman at Billingsgate 
Market, a man of fine literary taste and himself a writer 
of some pleasant poetry) to go and spend a Sunday evening 
now and then with him at Upper Park Road, Hampstead, 
and there saw the vision of perfect domestic happiness, and 
enjoyed a companionship which could not fail to elevate 
and teach. 

I think that Henry Morley 's interest in me was increased 
by the fact of my having become at the age of seventeen 
the editor of a regular monthly magazine. 

The Journal of the Evening Classes for Young Men made 
its appearance in January 1859, an ^ was published by W. 
H. Collingridge, the founder of the " City Press." It was a 
sixteen-page magazine, and one half of its space was to be 
filled by contributions from the members of the classes, who 
elected two editors to conduct the work. My colleague, 
F. W. Reynolds, did absolutely nothing except sign the 
address by which we introduced ourselves to our readers 
and that in which twelve months later we said our words of 
farewell. For the venture was not a success. 

I quote from the December number : 

Over and over again the time for sending copy to the 
printer has come, and no essays have been received. We 
have been compelled often, amid the pressure of other 
engagements, to write matter for the space ; and it has 
only been by the constant courtesy of the publisher that the 
journal has appeared at its proper time. 

Thus, from necessity, and not by any means from choice, 
more than half of the literary matter has been written by 
one hand. " Tom Brown," " George Guy," " E. D. Ward," 
and " E. G. C." are but different signatures of the same 
writer ; and it must be remembered, in excuse for many 
shortcomings, that these essays were many of them written 
under the most unfavourable circumstances, and in so much 
haste that we were often obliged to send them to the printer 
without a single reperusal. 

The contributions thus referred to were of a varied 
character. A life of Burke ; a biography in five chapters 
of Charlotte Bronte ; two essays upon modern English 
poetry ; an article on " Matters and Men " ; two sketches 
descriptive of my walks from Eastbourne to Hastings and 
from Hastings to Rye ; two obituary notices of Henry 
Hallam and W. K. Prescott, and two short specimens of 
very feeble verse, were my contributions during the year. 
I am puzzled now to understand how I could find time for 
all this work. For my classes at King's College and my 
editorial labours did not represent all my occupations of 
this kind. I was diligently attending the debating society 
at Crosby Hall, where I was the accepted leader of the Con- 
servative party, a young solicitor's clerk, one W. R. Stevens, 
who was really a brilliant speaker, being the leader of the 

And I delivered a few lectures. In the autumn I de- 
livered a lecture at Crosby Hall on " The Last of the Barons," 
which cost me a good deal of labour. 

And although it is but a trifle I should like to add that 
in September an elocutionary entertainment was given at 
Crosby Hall by three members of the classes. One was 


John Millard, a teacher of elocution, whose daughter 
Evelyn has since become a brilliant and successful actress ; 
one was William Barlow, a friend and companion of J. L. 
Toole at the Walworth Institution ; and I was the third. 

It seems a good deal to have been done by a lad of eighteen, 
who had to spend three evenings a week at King's College, 
and who was at the time busily engaged in the pleasant art 
of love-making. 

For I was paying diligent court to Annie Mitchell. Once 
a week I would leave the India Office early, take Tilling' s 
omnibus which went to Peckham by way of the Peckham 
Park Road, and generally take some flowers to the dear 
girl who would usually be sitting at work at the window. 
These evenings with poetry and music and song, and to 
me the delight of a first love, brightened all the week. 

But how was I to make myself secure that they would 
continue. The disparity of age which afterwards seemed 
wholly to disappear was then a real and very obvious 
barrier ; it seemed absurd for me, a boy of eighteen, to ask 
a young woman of twenty-one to pledge herself to share 
a future which my own obstinate ambition rendered as 
uncertain as any future could be. But not to speak was 
almost to invite another to speak, perhaps to win, that for 
which I longed ; so I ventured all and asked her to promise 
to be my wife. In November 1859 we were engaged. 

That engagement did not last long. When I took the 
news home my father laughed, and I think my mother cried. 
It seemed to them a folly ; and unkind things were unwisely 
said, and not easily forgotten. 

My dear girl was, I am sure, attacked in the same way, 
and it was harder for her to bear. A few weeks afterwards 
she withdrew her promise, but I persevered, and three 
months later ,our mutual pledges were again exchanged. 
For three years our engagement, now and then threatened, 
yet remained unbroken. 

Pressure was put on me in the spring of 1860, not by 
Annie herself, but by her grandmother, to give up my 
quixotic idea of throwing up the India House employment. 


Not much was said about it, for I believe the old lady thought 
that long before I had saved the money I used to talk of I 
should be tired of waiting, and that loving Annie as she 
knew I did I should marry her, instead of risking her future 
as well as my own by throwing away the certainty of a 
sufficient income, easily earned and sure to increase. 

How far her forecast would have proved to be right I 
cannot tell, for in 1860 circumstances occurred which solved 
the question. 

In the summer of that year preparations were being made 
for removal from the India House to new buildings which 
were being put up at Whitehall, and one of these prepara- 
tions was a reorganisation of the staff. About a dozen of 
the least valuable of the clerks in the different departments 
were privately told that their services were likely to be dis- 
pensed with upon terms of pension which were certainly 
not illiberal. But these clerks knew very well how difficult 
it would be for them, after spending years in the enervating 
atmosphere of a Government office, to turn to another 
employment, and the place was filled with their complaints 
and bemoanings. I saw my opportunity. One day I 
went to the room of Mr. Sandoz, the Auditor-General, who 
was dealing with the matter of reorganisation, and asked 
to see him. I told him I was about to go away for my 
annual holiday, and wished to know before I went if my 
name was likely to be on the list of those who were to leave. 
He laughed, and told me I might have spared myself the 
trouble of coming to see him. " You did not think/' said 
he, " that we were going to get rid of our competition men 
when it cost us so much to get them." 

" No," said I, " I did not think so, but I thought you 
might like to know that if I were put down to leave on the 
lowest terms of compensation, a gratuity of one year's 
earnings, I at least should not complain as others are 

He became serious at once, and asked if I really meant 
this. Assured that I did he asked me to see him again 
after my holidays, and meanwhile not to say a word to any 


one as to what had passed between us. So it happened 
that when a few weeks afterwards the definite announce- 
ment of retirements was made my colleagues at the office 
and my friends outside were astonished to find my name 
on the list. In October 1860 I left the India House after 
a service of only twenty months with a compensation 
gratuity of 253. 


THE LAW STUDENT I 1861-1864 

THE leaving the India House was the decisive act of my 
life, and in doing it I felt very lonely. There was no one 
who approved. The woman who loved me best and had 
the greatest belief in me my mother my sisters and my 
future wife, hoped, but hoped very doubtingly, while all 
others remonstrated, or avoided the subject and shrugged 
shoulders of contempt or pity. I had no doubt at all. 
To me it seemed that I had been the most fortunate of 
men. In the course of these twenty months I had saved 
about 180, which, with the 253 given me for leaving, 
made up the sum which I had thought of as enough to 
carry me through my studies for the Bar, if I should get, 
as I felt sure I should, one of those Tancred studentships, 
which, as I before said, I looked upon as intended by Pro- 
vidence for my special benefit. The first thing to do was 
to ascertain exactly what the examination would be. I 
went to see the clerk to the Tancred Trustees, Mr. Bartle 
Frere, a solicitor of high standing in his profession, and told 
him my story. He was interested, and gave me all the 
information he could ; and I have a suspicion that later 
on his good offices helped to secure my election. I ascer- 
tained that there would be a studentship vacant at the 
following Whitsuntide, and that the chief subjects of ex- 
amination would be Roman law, certain books of Quintilian 
and Cicero, and two books of Blacks tone's Commentaries. 
In the Quintilian and Cicero were my chief difficulties. I 
had reckoned on having four years for the study of Latin, 
and in fact had only had five terms of about twelve lessons 



each at King's College, and of course my knowledge came 
very far short of what was required for such an examination. 
It looked very likely that I should fail in this respect, and 
that I should have to wait another year or two before I 
could fit myself for the competition. But I set to work 
at once. I bought the books in which I should be examined, 
and went to a private tutor who was strongly recommended 
to me by Mr. Charles Mackenzie. 

The choice was not a happy one. He was, no doubt, a 
good scholar, but he was a strange and unmethodical person, 
much given to spiritualism, and not very apt at imparting 
knowledge. But I struggled on, and worked hard at the 
prescribed books of Blackstone, which I believe I almost 
learned by heart, only to have the mortification of finding 
when the examination took place that my labour had been 
absolutely wasted, as not a single question was put to us 
upon the subject. 

The date of the examination approached, and I had not 
nearly gone through the Cicero and Quintilian. So in 
desperation I bought Bonn's translation, and trusting to a 
memory which had never yet failed me, I read over the 
translation so carefully and so often that I believe I could 
reproduce it for any passage of the original which might be 
put before me. It was the very worst style of cramming, 
and I was heartily ashamed of it, but indeed I had no choice. 

In due time I went to Christ's College, Cambridge, where 
about twenty candidates were examined. I felt that I did 
not do well, and in the viva voce I got into trouble with the 
examiners over the word " imperium," to which I erroneously 
gave the meaning which it has with the Primrose League, 
and not that which it had with the Romans and with Lord 
Beaconsfield. If the grant of the studentship had depended 
simply upon the examination I believe I should have 
failed, for the Trinity Hall men who were in (Francillon the 
novelist among them) cannot all of them have known less 
Latin than I did. 

But other influences were at work on my behalf. My 
kind old friend Dr. Thomas Allen of Brighton tried to 


interest Sir Thomas Watson, who, as President of the 
College of Physicians, was one of the Trustees, in my favour, 
and may have succeeded. But the most important help 
came from the Society of Arts. Mr. Harry Chester had not 
forgotten my prize takings in 1856 and 1857, an< ^ a resolu- 
tion passed by the Council of the Society and signed by 
him as Chairman was sent to the Trustees asking them to 
elect me to the studentship. They did so, and on June 4th, 
1861, I paid my 30 of fees, no caution money was required, 
and was entered as a Student of Lincoln's Inn. 

The Tancred studentship secured me an income of 95 a 
year for the three years which must elapse before my call 
to the Bar, and for three years afterwards. 

I was delighted to know that my days (or I should rather 
say my years) of examinations were over. There was then 
no examination required for call to the Bar, so I had no 
need to trouble any more about Latin. 

I have never opened a Latin book since, and I never found 
the slightest inconvenience from the scantiness of my 
acquaintance with the language. 

So far so good. But I wanted more money yet in order 
to keep myself comfortably, and another source of income 
naturally suggested itself. This was journalism. To ex- 
plain how I attempted this I must go back a little. I said 
that the time spent in working at English law had been 
absolutely wasted. 

So far as the examination was concerned this was true. 
But part of that preparation was indirectly of the greatest 
value to me. I had been attracted by the announcement 
that lectures on Constitutional Law were delivered at the 
Working Men's College at Great Ormond Street by Mr. 
Thomas Randall Bennett, barrister-at-law. I joined the 
class, and was soon on terms of friendship with the lecturer. 
He was a somewhat remarkable man. 

A barrister of long standing and much ability, he was 
debarred from appearing in court by a curvature of the 
spine which much deformed him ; but he had a consider- 
able practice in advising and drawing pleadings and attend- 


ing Judge's chambers, and he always had good pupils in 
his chambers. He took great interest in me, and used to 
talk to me when his lecture was over, and was greatly 
delighted at my election to the Tancred Studentship. 

I mentioned to him one day my wish to obtain employ- 
ment on a newspaper, and he told me he knew Mr. James 
Johnstone, who owned The Morning Herald and Standard, 
and offered to give me an introduction to him, suggesting 
that I should write a leading article on some public question, 
and send it for Mr. Johnstone to consider. So I wrote an 
article on public education, then, as always, a matter of news- 
paper controversy, and Mr. Bennett enclosed it in a letter 
to Mr. Johnstone. The result was a request to call at the 
office in Shoe Lane. I went and had a long talk with Mr. 
Johnstone and with Captain Thomas Hamber, the editor, 
and I came away from the interview with a permanent 
engagement to write reviews of books for the two news- 
papers, averaging four columns a week, at a weekly salary 
of two guineas. This was in August 1862. I began my 
duties at once, and for three years I regularly contributed 
on those terms, and wrote more than half of the literary 
matter which appeared in these papers. Now I felt that 
my course was clear. I settled down with much content- 
ment to work that was far more congenial than the 
monotonous ledgers of the India House. I was regular 
in attendance at lectures and classes, and read a great 
deal at the library, and occasionally by way of relaxation 
went into the Chancery Court (for the Common Law Courts 
were too far away) and listened to the speeches of Cairns 
and Palmer and Mellish and Rolt. 

Resolved that the newspaper work should not interfere 
with my legal studies, I laid down a rule for myself which 
was seldom broken that I would not do it until after seven 
o'clock in the evening. But the course of legal education 
is (or at all events was) very easy, and had many holidays, 
so there was plenty of time for another study to which I 
now seriously devoted myself. 

It was the study of rhetoric ; an art so valuable, indeed 


so essential to the advocate who wishes to be something 
more than a desultory prattler, that one would think no 
pressure would be needed to induce the Inns of Court to 
teach it or to induce students to learn and practise it. But 
there is no teaching at the Inns ; the benchers for the most 
part never studied it themselves and have managed to get 
on without it ; and I have found students so well satisfied 
with their own capacity for saying whatever they want to 
say, that I have almost invariably failed to persuade them 
to acquire one of the pleasantest, and certainly the best paid 
of the arts. I was determined that if I failed to become a 
great speaker it should not be from want of trying, so I 
embarked on a systematic course of study. Whately, 
Aristotle, Quintilian, and Cicero (the classic authors of course 
in translation) were my teachers, and I studied the speeches 
of great orators especially Erskine and Plunket to find 
in them examples and illustrations of the rules laid down 
in the books. With the same purpose I became a regular 
attendant at the debates of the " Hardwicke Society," the 
best debating society I have ever known. 

It used to meet in a back room at Dick's Coffee House, 
and the attendance was then only from fifteen to twenty. 
But among the regular attendants and frequent speakers 
were some notable men. Leonard Courtney, Frederic 
Harrison, Montague Cookson, and Vernon and Godfrey 
Lushington, were very often there, and Giffard and Herschell 
and Charles Russell came occasionally. 

I was the Honorary Secretary of the Society for four 
years (1865-8) and then President (the first, for until 
then the senior member of committee present took the 
chair) for three years, and I have never ceased to try to 
persuade students and young barristers not to neglect the 
advantages which such a society offers. 

My eldest son was Secretary in 1898, and President 
in 1899 ; I dedicated to the Society my volume of forensic 
speeches, and in 1904 the Society did me the honour of making 
me the chief guest at its annual dinner in honour of my 
completing forty years of practice at the Bar. 


There was yet another means of education in public 
speaking, and I did not neglect it. 

From my boyhood the great attraction of the Bar to me 
was not that it would be a pleasant and, I hoped, a profitable 
occupation, but that it was the only road by which I could 
make my way into the House of Commons. 

So I wanted as early as possible to become familiar with 
the atmosphere of the House, and I wished there to study 
the styles and methods of the great masters of debate. My 
friend Henry Morley was then editor of The Examiner, a 
weekly paper which was published every Saturday morning, 
and I asked him to try to get me an order for the reporters' 
gallery. There was no great reason for his having one, for 
it was only occasionally that a late debate on a Friday 
night could usefully be reported in his paper. 

But he thought he would like a representative in the 
gallery, so with some trouble he persuaded Colonel Taylor 
to obtain an order admitting me every Thursday and Friday. 
I had this privilege for several years, and made the most 
of this great opportunity of study. I was almost always 
there on Thursday evening, patiently watching the debate, 
practising my shorthand, although it very seldom happened 
that I had occasion to take full notes of a speech, always 
listening to the speeches of the leading men as lessons by 
which I might thereafter profit. 

So having abandoned the learning of a superfluous 
language I supplied its place by a study much more pleasant 
and ten times more profitable ; the more profitable, indeed, 
because so few took the trouble to engage in it. 

My time would now seem to have been fully occupied. 
Mornings and afternoons I was busy at classes or lectures, 
or reading in the library, sometimes law, sometimes logic 
and rhetoric. In term time I almost always dined in Hall, 
for there the dinner was good and very cheap. On Thursday 
evening I was at the House of Commons, and on Friday at 
the Hardwicke, and afterwards went to the House of 
Commons in order to take up to The Examiner office in Wind- 
mill Street, if any important debate was on, the latest news 


of the discussion and division. On Wednesday and on 
every Sunday I was at Gloucester Cottages, and on three 
nights of the week, of which Saturday was always one, I 
worked from seven or eight in the evening until two or three 
in the morning, reading and reviewing the books which came 
from Shoe Lane, where I attended every Friday afternoon 
to receive my two guineas and sign the salaries book. 

It would seem these occupations were sufficient, but in 
1862 I took up another piece of work for which, during 
several years, I managed to find a good deal of time. 

In that year the Association for the Promotion of Social 
Science held its annual conference at the Guildhall, and I 
read a paper, afterwards published in the Transactions, 
upon Evening Classes for Young Men. As an outcome of 
the discussion which then took place a small meeting was 
held at Waterloo Place on June i4th, 1862, 1 Lord Brougham 
presiding, at which it was resolved to establish a society 
whose object should be to bring together in a central and 
controlling organisation the existing Mechanics' Institutions 
and Workmen's Clubs, and to aid in establishing other 
clubs upon the pattern which should be found most popular 
and effective. The Rev. T. Rylance, a Church of England 
clergyman, the Rev. H. Solly, a Unitarian, who called 
himself an English Presbyterian, and the Rev. David 
Thomas, a distinguished Wesleyan Methodist, were the 
active founders of the Society, which was called the Working 
Men's Club and Institute Union, and which by 1912 had 
grown into a useful and powerful organisation having 480,000 
members and 1,500 affiliated clubs. 

I was at the meeting at Waterloo Place, was a member 
of the provisional committee, and became the first Honorary 
Secretary of the Union. 

With Lord Lyttelton as our President, a great deal of 
good work was done, and my first experience in addressing 
public meetings was gained when I accompanied Mr. Solly 
to various parts of London and certain towns in the country 

1 On June i4th, 1912, I spoke at the Jubilee Dinner of the Union, 
being the only survivor of the founders. 


and spoke to large meetings of working men. It is a pleasant 
recollection for me that at Willis's Rooms in 1865 I 
spoke at a meeting where Lord Brougham presided, and 
heard the veteran of eighty-seven say very kind things 
about his young supporter of twenty-four. 

My work was going on pleasantly, and I was content and 
happy, when in 1863 my hopes of the future were suddenly 
and heavily clouded. I had taken my betrothed to some 
readings at St. Dunstan's schoolroom, where I read Tenny- 
son's " Enoch Arden." She was greatly touched by it, and 
so I lent her the finest prose version of that story that has 
ever been written, Sylvia's Lovers, by Mrs. Gaskell. She 
read it, and when next I saw her after she had done so she 
told me she could not love me as a wife should love, and 
begged me to release her from her promise. I have no 
doubt that she had long been urged by her grandmother 
to take this step. The old lady was sorely troubled at my 
having given up the certain income of the India House for 
what seemed the very doubtful chances of a profession. 
As she one day said to me, getting briefs was like picking up 
sovereigns on the pavement in Fleet Street you might 
happen to find them, but then you might not. And poor 
Annie had not, I think, much sympathy from her sister and 
her friends. I was not a favourite with girls. I am told 
that I was conceited and sarcastic, and no doubt ambition 
is selfish in its methods if not in its intentions. 

Still I do not believe she would have broken off the 
engagement if I had not had a rival in her recollections of 
a young sailor to whom her first girlish love had been given. 
I believe his name was Frederick Day, but I am not sure. 

He was never at any time, before or after marriage, 
mentioned between us. But I have no doubt that in her 
mind he was identified with the Charlie Kinraid in Mrs. 
Gaskell's story, and that I represented the much less attrac- 
tive Philip Hepburn, and that her declaration to me was 
the honest confession of a love which was not wholly dead, 
and which the reading of that most touching story had 
revived. So we parted. But I refused to be defeated by 

i86i-4] IN THE PUPIL ROOM 6$ 

the shadow of a bygone day. I went back to my work with 
an aching heart, but in the circumstances which had brought 
about my disappointment I found consolation and some 
ground of hope. I had not been ousted by a living rival 
who might as soon as I was gone step in and take possession. 
The sailor lover might not still be living ; it was unlikely 
that he would come back. And the thoughts of him which 
my reading and the loan of the book had unfortunately 
revived might guard her heart against another even more 
strongly than against myself. At all events, she knew that 
I loved her. The time might yet come when that faithful 
and unwavering love would claim and receive its reward. 
' Time and I against any two," I would still wait. 
The years of study were nearly half gone. There was, as 
I said, no examination to pass, but it was necessary that I 
should spend a year as pupil in a barrister's chambers. 
Here again my staunch friend Mr. Bennett helped me. 
Of course I was anxious that the year should be spent 
with him. 

I had money enough to pay the regulation fee of one 
hundred guineas, and offered to do so, but he would not 
hear of it, and gave me the qualifying year without taking 
any fee at all. That year was a delightful experience. The 
other pupils were Montagu Corry (afterwards Lord Rowton), 
Evelyn Ashley, whom I met much later in political life, and 
a certain Paul Panton of whom I know nothing but his 

In the back room of the chambers was a former pupil 
lately called to the Bar, and making a good beginning on the 
Oxford circuit, a famous cricketer and one of the hand- 
somest and most genial of good fellows, the late Counsel to 
the Speaker, Chandos Leigh. 

He was the life and soul of the place ; Ashley was a quiet 
student ; Corry did not study at all, but came late and 
not very regularly, and amused himself by putting the 
births, deaths, and marriages of The Times into doggerel 

I had managed to learn a good deal of law, and was, I 


think, rather helpful to my kind friend, and he was more 
than kind to me, taking pains to direct me in my work and 
help me with it and teaching me the delightful science of 
pleading, of which he was a master. 

His clients were for the most part of good professional 
standing, but one of them from whom many cases came was 
a solicitor named Leverson, who was afterwards convicted 
of fraud and struck off the rolls. The clerk who often 
brought papers from him was Charles Bradlaugh. 

I was very grateful to Mr. Bennett for the help thus given, 
and some years afterwards when I was taking pupils I took 
without fee a young student who was not very well off, on 
condition that he in his turn should do the same. He gained 
success and some distinction at the Bar, and kept his under- 
taking, and I believe the series of free pupils thus started 
is still continued. 

My call to the Bar was to take place in Michaelmas Term, 
1864, but it was nearly being delayed by a curious accident. 
It was required that the student desiring to be called should 
appear before the benchers at a council held a few days 
before the call day. On the day fixed for this council I 
went to my room at Moorgate Street in the early afternoon 
to rest. I had been at work very late the night before, and 
lying down on the bed I went to sleep, and woke to find 
that it was within five minutes of the time I should be at 
Lincoln's Inn. In great alarm, for not only would my call 
be postponed, but the postponement might involve the 
forfeiture of my Tancred Studentship, which was held on 
the condition that the student should be called on the 
earliest date possible under the rules of the Inn, I rushed 
downstairs, found a hansom, and drove as fast as I could to 
Lincoln's Inn. There, as I feared, I found the business was 
over, the steward, Mr. Doyle, had gone away with his books 
and the Council had broken up. I asked what benchers 
were still there, and among the names mentioned was that 
of Sir Fitzroy Kelly. I sent in my name and asked to speak 
with him. He came out and heard my story, and then 
taking me back with him into the room asked the benchers 

i86i-4] CALLED TO THE BAR 67 

there to recall the steward and have my name entered as 
having kept the introduction. Not content with this, he 
took me with him to another room and had a long talk with 
me about the Tancred Studentship and other matters, and 
in after-years he remembered to my advantage the interview 
which had been so strangely brought about. 

All the requirements were now fulfilled, and on November 
I7th, 1864, the dream of my boyhood was fulfilled and I 
became a barrister of Lincoln's Inn. 



I CAME very early to be a lover of the theatre. My mother 
disliked it on religious grounds and would not go, but she 
used to take great pains with my reading, and was very fond 
of hearing me recite poetry. My father was very fond of 
the theatre, and my great treat when I was home for the 
holidays from my school at Edmonton was to be taken by 
him to see Charles Kean and his wife in one of Shakespeare's 
plays at the Princess's Theatre in Oxford Street. 

The accident that the teacher of elocution at College 
House had been an actor, and that he took a special interest 
in me, did much to foster my own inclinations, and reading 
Shakespeare and reciting dialogues with my teacher formed 
the favourite amusement of my schoolboy days. 

It was at the breaking-up entertainment at College House 
in December 1851 that I, not quite eleven years of age, 
recited Othello's " Address to the Senate," and confessed 
that it was true "that I had stole away the old man's 
daughter ; true I had married her." 

Then came, as I have before related, the City Commercial 
School in Lombard Street, where this particular bent of mine 
found everything to encourage it. Our dear old headmaster, 
William Pinches, was a great lover of poetry and the drama, 
and every year the boys gave an elocutionary entertainment 
at Sussex Hall, Leadenhall Street, the preparation for which 
was to him the greatest enjoyment of the year. When I 
went to the school in January 1853 he had just lost a pupil 
who was his favourite elocutionist. It was the boy who 
afterwards as Henry Irving became known as the foremost 



actor of his time. I did not know him until many years 
afterwards, but I was very jealous of him, for when I had 
become one of the principal reciters at the school my self- 
conceit used to be sorely wounded when after I had done my 
very best Mr. Pinches would say, " Very good, Clarke, very 
good, but I should like you to have heard Brodribb do that." 

One of my school-fellows was nephew of a Mr. George 
Behr, who kept the George Hotel which gave its name to 
the yard where that school stood, and we two boys were 
occasionally taken to Sadler's Wells Theatre, where Phelps 
was then in the midst of a management which was very 
memorable in the annals of the English stage. He was 
himself a fine actor, admirable in elocution, dignified in 
bearing, impressive in tragedy and delightful in comedy, 
very pathetic as Lear, and with true humour in Sir Pertinax 
McSycophant. With him was Henry Marston, sadly 
handicapped by an unpleasantly harsh voice, but a fine 
actor, the best Ghost in Hamlet I ever saw, and with the 
exception of Henry Irving the best lago. Mrs. Charles 
Young as Desdemona was delightful. 

During the two years 1853 and 1854 I went now and 
then to the Princess's, and there I saw the notable revival 
of Henry VIII, which was quite equal in the beauty and 
completeness of its staging to the famous Lyceum pro- 
duction many years later. Wolsey and Louis XI were to 
my thinking Charles Kean's best parts ; Mrs. Charles 
Kean with less force and less personal beauty than Ellen 
Terry had more of queenly dignity and of pathetic grace. 
Ryder, a fine elocutionist, made a noble Buckingham, 
while Cooper as Griffith showed how much a good actor 
can make of a small part. 

I was a favourite with my schoolmaster and was admitted 
to his private friendship, and so I became acquainted with 
his sons. One of them about my own age, Edward Ewen 
Pinches, who would I feel sure have distinguished himself 
at the Bar if he had not had the fatal good fortune of marry- 
ing a rich wife, was my closest and dearest friend for sixty 
years. His elder brother Conrad, who published an 


excellent book on Elocution, kept a school called Clarendon 
House in the Lambeth Road, and at one of the elocutionary 
entertainments there William Creswick, then in joint 
management of the Surrey Theatre with William Sheppard, 
saw me and I think took a fancy to me. He put me on 
the free-list of the Surrey Theatre, and for a year or 
two I occasionally found my way to the Blackfriars' 
Road when I could be spared from the shop before the 
closing hour. 

Creswick (" Uncle Bill " his professional associates used 
to call him) was an actor quite worthy to be remembered 
with Phelps and Kean. His opportunities were fewer, for 
the Old Surrey was much given to transpontine melodrama 
(The Orange Girl was one of its greatest successes), but 
there was occasionally a Shakespearean Season, and I well 
remember one fortnight when Julius C&sar was presented, 
and Phelps and Creswick alternated the parts of Brutus 
and Cassius. Phelps was at his best as Brutus. Antony 
(then considered an inferior part) was very well played by 
a young actor named Verner, who died shortly afterwards 
in a London hospital. 

(Creswick' s health failed, and he went some time later 
on a tour in Australia, which did him good financially as 
well as physically. When he was coming home some one 
told Byron that Creswick was coming back a new man. 
" Good heavens," said Byron, "you don't say so. I hope 
he is not coming back Sheppard.") 

Just before the close of the Crimean War I wrote a drama 
of Russian life in blank verse, called it The Serf, and sent it 
to Creswick. He wisely rejected it, and I, burning the 
manuscript, made an end of my first and last attempt at 
dramatic authorship. 

My next theatrical recollections are of a very different 
kind. At sixteen or seventeen fancies lightly turn to 
thoughts of love, and I fell deeply in love, as hundreds of 
others were doing then and for many years afterwards, 
with the quite too utterly delightful Marie Wilton. I used 
to gaze upon her from the pit, and once I left a bouquet at 


the stage door in Surrey Street, and I dare say left a letter 
with it. But nothing came of it, and nearly thirty years 
passed by before I had the pleasure of knowing her. But 
I can almost see her now as she came on the stage in The 
Miller and his Men, dragging her master's portmanteau. 
In top hat, short skirted coat, white breeches and top boots 
she was the smartest, sweetest little tiger ever seen. One 
night in the eighties I had to take her in to dinner at Lady 
Jeune's. Something was said ; I think she asked a question 
about my memory or about my liking for poetry. So I 
said in an undertone, 

" Oh, I wish I'd never left my mother's extremely humble 
but remarkably virtuous roof ever to become a wife. 

" But the longest lane has a turning, and the best of 
friends must part, and so must the worst of enemies, and 
marriage is only for life. 

" So I suppose I must put up with the kicks and the cuffs 
and the insults and the punches on the head suitable to my 
sad situation, 

" Till poison or something of the kind puts an end to the 
broken-hearted Ravina, or I can sneak out on the quiet 
and get an economical but strictly legal separation." 

She laughed, and I then confessed my early devotion, 
and we had a chat about the old times when she and Patty 
Oliver, and John Clarke, and Rogers the broken-hearted 
Ravina, were the quartette which made the fame and fortune 
of the little theatre in the Strand. 

It seemed with me that all roads led to the theatre. In 
1859 I went to the evening classes at King's College and 
joined the English Literature Class taught by Henry Morley, 
who was a great dramatic critic. 

He was very friendly towards me, and from time to time 
would ask me to go with him to a first performance. And 
he took me with him one evening to Westland Marston's 
house at Primrose Hill. Here every Sunday evening there 
was a very pleasant informal gathering of literary and 
theatrical people. 

From eight o'clock onward those who enjoyed the privilege 


of a standing invitation came dropping in. Cigars were on 
the table ; presently sandwiches and decanters of whisky 
were set out. Guests came and went without ceremony, 
and the host, himself a delightful man of letters, led and 
stimulated a conversation which was always interesting 
and often brilliant. There I met Mrs. Lynn Linton, a 
woman of extraordinary intellectual gifts. There too began 
an acquaintance with Moy Thomas which grew to some- 
thing closer than acquaintance and lasted many years. And 
I think it was there I first met Hain Fri swell, at whose house 
in Russell Street, Bloomsbury Square, I afterwards met 
Henry Irving, and began the friendly intimacy with him 
which lasted till his death. But to me the most attractive 
person at these gatherings was the gentle son of the house, 
the blind poet Philip Bourke Marston, whose early death 
silenced a music which was steadily growing in strength 
and beauty. 

One evening I went to the house rather early, and found 
sitting before the fire with her hair loose upon her shoulders 
the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. It was Adelaide 
Neilson, who was then the leading lady in Westland Mar- 
ston' s play of Life for Life at the Adelphi Theatre. I dislike 
superlatives, but I will leave this standing. Mrs. Stirling 
told me that Mary Anderson was the most beautiful woman 
she had ever seen on the stage. W. S. Gilbert said the same 
thing of Julia Neilson. But both admitted to me that 
Adelaide Neilson was not unworthy to be put in comparison 
with either. 

I met Adelaide Neilson several times in later years, 
waltzed with her when her husband brought her to the 
Scottish Ball, and had the pleasure of rendering her some 
little service with my advice in a legal matter. She was in 
all respects a delightful person. 

For several years my time was so filled with work that 
I hardly ever went to the theatre, but soon after I left the 
India House I made the acquaintance of another very 
charming actress Nellie Farren. A friend of mine who 
was in some way interested in the Victoria Theatre took 


me there one evening and we went behind the scenes. 
Nellie Farren was then "Singing Chambermaid" in the 
regular company. She lived with her mother in Richmond 
Road, Barnsbury, where they kept a little school, and Nellie, 
who had a very small salary, used to walk to and from the 
theatre in the Waterloo Road ; sometimes, when rehearsals 
were on, twice in the day. 

One night she consented to my seeing her home, and we 
went through the New Cut to the Blackfriars Road and 
turned up towards the bridge. As we came near it an 
elderly man who was sitting on a doorstep got up and 
touched his hat and said, " Good-night, miss." " Good- 
night," said Nellie. " I shall not want you to-night." We 
walked on, and when we came to Smithfield two young 
men were waiting at a street corner. She bade them good- 
night and said, " I have escort to-night, you see, so I shall 
not want you." Then she explained that every night these 
three waited for her, and walked behind her to see that she 
was not molested. The elder man followed as far as Smith- 
field, and the young men saw her safe to her own door. It 
was a chivalrous service freely rendered. The devotion 
of the young men of the Waterloo Road was somewhat 
embarrassing, for on Sunday afternoons they would make 
pilgrimages to Barnsbury and stand in a row opposite the 
house hoping to get a peep at her. 

She was soon carried off to other scenes. Alfred and 
Horace Wigan were managing the Olympic, and Horace 
went round to the minor theatres to try to pick up talent. 
He found a prize in Nellie Farren, and soon she was appear- 
ing in the burlesque of King Alfred, where I remember 
her singing " Musty bread and fusty water, bag of straw 
to lie upon and pillow of rusty nails." I do not think 
she appeared with Robson in the burlesque of The 
Merchant of Venice, in which that wonderful little man 
used to play one scene, the lament for his daughter's 
flight, as tragedy, and showed the extraordinary range of 
his genius. 

It was a little later than this that I made the acquaint- 


ance of another beautiful young actress, Ada Cavendish, 
whose first appearance was in the burlesque of Ixion at the 
Royalty Theatre in Dean Street, Soho. It is hardly correct 
to call her an actress, for at that time she could not act at 
all. She sang very little and could not dance. Her at- 
traction was in her beauty of face and figure. She wore 
what was then thought a very daring costume, open at the 
side as high as the waist and revealing, as she moved some- 
what awkwardly about the stage, a leg and thigh of sur- 
passing beauty. 

A fellow- student of mine at Lincoln's Inn had rooms at 
the top of the house at the north-east corner of Lincoln's 
Inn Fields, and my acquaintance with Ada Cavendish began 
at a supper he gave where she and Lydia Maitland, the 
Ixion of the play, were present. For some time I saw her 
pretty often. She lived over a shoemaker's shop in Queen 
Street, and I remember once going with her to tea with 
Lydia Thompson, who lodged in Henrietta Street, Covent 
Garden. She often lunched in the little back room of 
Creighton's, a pastrycook's shop in the Strand, close to the 
old office of The Globe newspaper, which was rather a meeting- 
place for actresses. There I made the acquaintance of 
Lydia Foote and little Miss Raynham. Ada Cavendish 
was a tall and handsome girl, and she told me, I believe 
quite truly, that Cavendish was her father's name. It was 
but a small salary that she got at the Royalty, and she lived 
very quietly and economically. But one day that I met 
her I noticed that she was unusually well dressed. She 
explained that her father had sent his steward to see her, 
and had arranged that in future she was to receive an 
allowance through him. Soon afterwards she came under 
the tuition of Sothern, and he made her a really fine actress. 
Her Mercy Merrick in The New Magdalen and Julie de 
Mortemar in Richelieu were very notable performances. 
After losing sight of her for many years I met her again 
at one of Irving' s receptions at the Lyceum, and then I 
used occasionally to call and see her and her husband, 
Marshall, who edited The Irving Shakespeare, at their house 



in Bloomsbury Square. An absolute loss of memory put 
an end to her career on the stage. 

She was the last of that group of my theatrical acquaint- 
ances. I had spent many pleasant hours in their company, 
and there was not an hour that one of us had reason to 
regret or be ashamed of. 



MY first business when I was a full-blown barrister was 
to put my name on a door in the Temple where briefs might 
find me. In my choice of chambers I was not very wise. I 
still slept and did my newspaper work at Moorgate Street, 
but since 1862, when I became an Associate of King's College, 
I had no classes to occupy my evenings, and after April 1863 
I saw a great deal of the convivial side of student life in 
the Temple. There was very much more of this forty 
years ago than there is to-day ; a good many men lived in 
chambers, and wine parties were frequent. Every call day 
there would be two or three such parties, and students and 
young barristers wandered from one to another, every- 
where welcome and everywhere noisy. It was a merry 
crowd, but very few of those who joined it made any 
position for themselves in later years. The young Irish- 
men were the life and soul of all these parties, and to them, 
almost without exception, the habits then formed were 
fatal. I could set down the names of eight young Irishmen, 
all of high promise, who were students, or barristers lately 
called, in 1863 and 1864, and who all were ruined by drink. 
I spent one long night sitting alone by the bedside of a man 
of brilliant gifts who was raving in the horrors of delirium 

He, indeed, survived and went back to Ireland with 
shattered health to fill for a few years (he died long ago) a 
professorship at Trinity College ; but the other seven simply 
disappeared. Richard Whitfield was not one of the seven, 
but his career was spoiled by these convivial habits. He 


1864-6] AT 3, PUMP COURT 77 

was a delightful companion, full of fun and humour, who 
could do almost anything except devote himself to con- 
tinuous work. The kindest-hearted and most generous of 
men, he would spend or lend or give when he had money 
to do it with, but to keep a five-pound note by him for a 
week or two was quite beyond his power. I saw his likeness 
on the stage in my friend Edward Terry's delightful per- 
formance of Dick Phenyl, in Sweet Lavender. 

He lived in rooms at the top of Number 3, Pump Court, 
and I paid him a few pounds for being allowed to put my 
name on the door, and to speak of a small boy, who used to 
cook eggs and bacon and make water hot for shaving and 
other purposes, as my clerk. I was not there long, for the 
rooms were too far up for business, and their general con- 
dition and appearance would not have inspired confidence 
in the most indulgent of clients. So I soon moved to very 
different quarters at 3, Garden Court, where in an excellent 
set of rooms on the ground-floor my dear friend Edward 
Pinches and I began a joint occupation of chambers which 
there and afterwards at 5, Essex Court and more lately at 
2, Essex Court lasted for more than forty years. 

But I did not spend much time at Chambers. When I 
read it was generally at Lincoln's Inn Library, but for the 
most part my days were spent in Court. 

By a curious provision in the will of Christopher Tancred 
the students were required to become members of Lincoln's 
Inn, but to declare their intention of practising at the 
Common Law Bar. But apart from that obligation I should 
certainly have chosen the more active and public branch 
of legal work, and there was no question as to which circuit 
I should join. 

I had, indeed, thought I should like to go the Western 
Circuit, partly from my family connection with Somerset- 
shire, and partly because the names of Cockburn, Coleridge, 
and Karslake had made that circuit pre-eminent, but to do 
so would cost me 150 a year in circuit expenses, and that, 
of course, I could not afford. The Home Circuit and a 
London Sessions were clearly the proper places for a young 


barrister with no money to spare, so I applied for admission 
to the mess of the Surrey Sessions which generally sat 
at Newington. I had an odd difficulty at first. My 
staunch friend W. R. Stevens was clerk in the office of 
Mr. Freeland, the solicitor to the South Eastern Railway 
Company, and directly my call was announced in the papers 
he procured a small brief which he sent me to prosecute at 
the Surrey Sessions some servant of the Company who had 
been detected in theft. 

I was not yet a member of the Sessions or of the Home 
Circuit. But the members of the Sessions Mess thought it 
would be too cruel to make me return my first brief, so 
within a week or two of my call I found myself conducting 
the earliest of my long series of criminal cases. The Surrey 
Sessions of that day was rather a curious place. There was 
a looseness of professional conduct and a violence and 
grossness of cross-examination and speech which would not 
now be tolerated. The leader of the Sessions Bar was a 
singular person. Samuel Lilley was an Oxford graduate 
of some distinction, who was, I believe, a good Hebrew 
scholar and had been meant for the clerical office. His 
brother the Rev. Isaac Lilley was rector of St. Chrysostom's, 
High Street, Peckham, the church where Mrs. Platt rented 
sittings in the very early days of my visits to the Peckham 
Park Road. But he turned to the Bar, and rather late in 
life obtained, by seniority rather than capacity, the lead of 
the Surrey Sessions. He had no clerk, and although his 
name was on a door in Middle Temple Lane, he was seldom 
seen at the Temple. He lived at Peckham, and while his 
clients in criminal cases would generally seek him there, 
his most lucrative business, that of applying for or opposing 
the grant of new public-house licences, was negotiated at 
the beer-shop whose occupier was applying, or the public 
house which was opposing the application. He had a 
powerful voice, a stormy manner, and a ferocity in assailing 
an unfortunate witness which I have never seen equalled 
elsewhere. When I add the little detail that he always had 
a spare watch in his pocket in a little leather bag, and would 


casually mention that he carried it for sale I have completed 
the description. We were never on very friendly terms, 
for he was naturally jealous of any junior who threatened 
to interfere with his business, and he was not over-scrupulous 
in his methods of opposition. My principal friends at the 
Sessions were Morgan Howard, a very able man with whom 
there was a bond of sympathy, for he had come to the Bar 
from Henry Peek's tea warehouse in East cheap, and (a 
little later) my dear friend Douglas Straight, a brilliant 
advocate, the most genial of companions, and the most 
loyal of friends. He and I tried to make the Surrey Sessions 
pleasant for each other, and I think with much success. 

It seemed to me that my best chance of getting work 
early would be at the Surrey Sessions, so I made it a rule 
to attend there regularly and stay in Court during the whole 
day whether I had a brief or not. When there was no sitting 
at Newington I would go in the same way to the Central 
Criminal Court. When that was not sitting I would, in the 
same regular way, attend the hearing of causes at West- 
minster Hall, going chiefly into the Courts where Common 
Jury cases were being tried. 

One of my rules, and perhaps the most valuable (I have 
tried to observe it throughout my career), was to be in Court 
five minutes before the Judge took his seat. 

At that day the practice was for leaders in the very 
front rank to take almost any brief that was offered, even 
with very small fees. At the very height of their great 
success Huddleston and Day would take ten-guinea or 
seven-guinea briefs, and would often have eight or ten cases 
in the day's list. They kept at work all day, and gave all 
the attention they could to the cases which seemed to want 
it most, but it was a thoroughly bad system, the labour 
of the Counsel was enormous, and the dissatisfaction of the 
suitor often very great. But one result of the system was 
that clients had to be careful in choosing juniors who could 
conduct the case, and another was that at the beginning of 
the day the clerks of these overworked Q.C/s were going 
into Court looking for a trustworthy junior to take notes 


for the great man to use if he should happen to come in. 
Often the leader would come in, snub the junior who was 
doing his best, dash into the middle of the case, ask a 
few trivial and generally mischievous questions, and then 
flourish out again to treat some other client in the same 
way in the next Court. 

The modern practice of giving a leader a large fee upon 
the understanding that he will attend to the case throughout 
is obviously much better both for suitors and for the Bar. 

My other rule was to take great pains with the hand- 
writing of my notes. They were for another person to use, 
and their being easily read was as important as their being 
correct. I soon became known as a note-taker who could 
be trusted, and seldom sat unoccupied in Court. If there 
were nothing else to do I would take down the names of cases 
cited, and note the legal points made in speeches or in the 
summing up. Of course my shorthand was of great value. 

At the Central Criminal Court my diligence was soon 
rewarded. One day a man was being tried before Mr. 
Justice Lush who had driven over and killed a child and was 
charged with manslaughter. 

Sergeant Sleigh defended, and had for his junior, Daly, a 
man then in good business at the Criminal Bar, who was 
often glad to get some one to take notes for him. I was 
doing this, and in the course of the afternoon Daly slipped 
out of Court. Presently Sleigh asked a foolish question. 
He said to a witness who was describing the prisoner's 
driving, " Why, you must have thought he was drunk." 
" I am sure he was," said the witness, and Sleigh, furious 
at his own blunder, turned round to speak to Daly. I 
hastily explained that he had gone away, and Sleigh with 
an oath flung out of Court. Presently the speech for the 
defence had to be made, and neither Counsel was there. The 
Judge was very kind, asked me to address the jury, and 
bespoke for me their indulgent hearing. 

I did my best, and the jury, after an hour or so of dis- 
cussion, gave a verdict of not guilty. 1 At that time it was the 
1 Reg. v. Gibson, C.C. papers, 64, 552. 

1864-6] THE OLD BAILEY 81 

custom for the two Judges and some of the Counsel to dine 
with the Sheriffs in the large room at the Old Bailey at 
5 o'clock on Wednesday, and I think on Friday. This was 
one of the dinner days, and the Sheriffs invited me. The 
Judges said complimentary and encouraging things, and 
so I was well started in my career in that great school of 
advocacy. I should like here to sketch the two men who 
at that time were the unquestioned leaders of the Criminal 
Bar, and to do so is not to break in upon the story of my 
life, because it was by watching their methods and studying 
the causes of their success that I trained myself for the 
work of later years. 

William Ballantine, " the Serjeant," was a man of re- 
markable power. Rather over middle height, lean and hard, 
with the eye of a hawk. A voice capable of many tones, 
but with a curious drawl, half infirmity and half affectation. 
A man of slight legal knowledge, of idle and pleasure- loving 
habits, but an advocate of quite extraordinary skill. He 
could rise to great eloquence, but his great power was in his 
cross-examination, which was the most subtle and deadly 
that I ever heard. There was a great fascination about 
him ; whenever he was in Court he was the most conspicuous 
person there, and seemed by instinct to lead or coerce or 
dominate judge and witness and jury. His temper was 
violent, his humour bitter and sarcastic, but he was the 
most generous of leaders. Once at Kingston, before Sir 
Alexander Cockburn, in a South Eastern Railway case 
which he had not read I was rather importunate in my 
suggestions, and he turned on me in Court with " Damn you, 
sir, am I conducting this case or are you ? " But before 
the trial was over he explained to the Jury that I had been 
right, and had only been reminding him of facts which he 
ought to have known. 

I have often heard him when quoting cases mention his 
junior's name, and say he was indebted to his diligence. 
His career was finally spoiled by his visit to India to defend 
the Gaekwar of Baroda, and the latter part of his life was 
spent in exile at Boulogne, only being saved from poverty 


by the allowance made him by his son, which was generously 
supplemented by six members of the Bar. 

One of the six was his frequent opponent in Court, the 
other leader I wish to describe, Hardinge Giffard, a man of 
very different stamp. Short of stature, not distinguished 
in appearance or manner, with a voice which though loud 
and clear was somewhat harsh and had no persuasive tones 
in it, Giffard was by his industry (I am speaking of his early 
years in silk), by his great knowledge of law, his strong 
masculine sense, his indomitable courage, and his excellence 
in the art of arranging and narrating facts, one of the most 
formidable of advocates. His scrupulous and absolute 
fairness gave him great influence with juries, and his reply 
in a criminal case was always worthy of study and imitation. 
Closely associated with him as I was for many years I have 
not seen much of him in private life since he became Lord 
Chancellor, but it has been pleasant to see my old friend 
and companion develop into the greatest judge before 
whom I ever practised. 

It was through his advice that I did not let slip my first 
opportunity of addressing a court in bane. 

The opportunity came in a remarkable way ! 

Very soon after my call to the Bar, I think within a week 
or two, I heard that a debate was to be opened at the 
" Socials " debating society by a young Irishman named 
Hans Morrison, who had lately caused a great sensation in 
Dublin by the brilliancy and boldness of an address de- 
livered to the Historical Society. The " Socials " was a 
popular debating society which met weekly at the Rainbow 
Tavern, and had a larger gathering than the Hardwicke, as 
it was not limited to members of the Inns of Court. 

I did not belong to it, but a friend (I think Harry Atkinson, 
now Judge Atkinson) took me as a visitor. 

There was a crowded room, but just at the time for begin- 
ning the debate a letter came to say that Morrison was 
unwell and could not attend. The subject announced was 
a speech on the Parliamentary Franchise which had been 
lately made by Mr. Gladstone, and was known as the " flesh 


and blood " speech. The committee tried to find among 
their own members a substitute for the absent opener, 
and failing in this, asked me if I would open the debate. 
Stipulating for five minutes in which to arrange a few notes, 
I consented. The debate was well sustained, and Digby 
Seymour, then one of the most popular leaders at the Bar, 
spoke in the course of it and said very kind things about me ; 
and after my reply, which naturally was a good deal better 
than the opening, I went away well pleased with my evening. 

It so happened that there was present a Mr. John P. 
Murrough, a London solicitor who had been for a short time 
Member of Parliament for Bridport. He stayed after the 
debate to sup with some friends, and declared that after 
what he had heard that night he would give to me the first 
junior brief he had at his disposal. That brief was an 
important one. 

Charles Windsor, a cashier in a New York bank, had 
stolen a very large sum of money, and escaped with it to 
England, having managed to conceal the fraud by making 
false entries in the books of the bank. 

A warrant was issued for his extradition on a charge of 
forgery, which was included in the Ashburton Treaty of 1842. 

But a writ of habeas corpus was obtained, and the point 
was taken that this crime was not forgery, the false making 
of a writing which purported to be the writing of another 
person, and that it was not within the treaty. McMahon led 
for the prisoner, and Murrough, true to his word, sent me 
the junior brief. Giffard was on the other side. The case 
was argued on April 27th, 1865, before Lord Chief Justice 
Cockburn and Mr. Justice Blackburn and Mr. Justice Shee. 

When McMahon had finished I thought he had said all 
that was needed, and told Giffard I did not propose to add 

" Nonsense," said he, " you give them an argument ; 
it will do you good. You want the judges to know you, 
and you want to get used to hearing your own voice in the 
Courts." So I for the first time addressed the Court in 
bane. We succeeded, and Charles Windsor was released. 


The delivery of this brief, although I did not know of what 
enormous importance to my career the case was destined to 
be, gave me great hope and confidence as to the future, and 
one way in which that confidence expressed itself was in a 
resolve again to approach Annie Mitchell. 

For two years I had not seen her, but I had heard of 
her from time to time ; that her life continued its uneventful 
course, that she was not married, and that it was not believed 
that any one had taken my place. 

My own mind had never changed or wavered ; and on 
Sunday, April 23rd, 1865, two years to the day since we 
parted, I went to Gloucester Cottages in the afternoon and 
asked to see her. She had gone with a friend, a Miss J essopp, 
for a walk, which was a favourite one of hers, to the pretty 
country cemetery at Nunhead. I followed and found them, 
and then I walked back to her home ; went with her in 
the evening, as of old, to Camden Church, and before we 
parted that night the cloud had passed away in a happy 
reconciliation ; and from that day it was my happiness to 
enjoy for the sixteen years for which her life lasted her fond 
and unselfish and indulgent affection. 

So there came back upon my life and character the 
strongest of all the influences which elevate and restrain 
the habitual companionship of a pure and sweet woman 
and the contemplation of marriage with her. It had not 
been long enough withdrawn for me to fall into irreparable 
mischief. But it would have been better for me if it had 
never been withdrawn at all. 

My life would have been better ; my conscience clearer ; 
my memories less clouded. I think a man should always 
marry before he is twenty-six years old ; if his marriage is 
so late as that it is well for him if it be preceded by two or 
three years of betrothal. 

It was about this time that I was relieved from the heavy 
burden of my work for The Morning Herald and Standard. 

I still held to my rule of never touching it until the 
evening, and the consequence was that I was often working 
far into the night, and was hardly fit for early attendance 


at Court in the morning. And I had for some time felt 
aggrieved by the refusal of Mr. Johnstone to increase my 
weekly stipend. The concession made to me was that 
something less than four columns a week would be con- 
sidered sufficient. But of course this arrangement was 
indefinite and not very satisfactory, and there was some 
occasional friction. 

While I was hesitating to sacrifice an income so important 
to me an accident occurred which settled the question. One 
day in the parcel of books sent me for review there was a 
novel called Blount Tempest, by the Rev. John Montes- 
quieu Bellew, a popular preacher, but noted rather as an 
elocutionist than as a divine. I thought the book was 
rubbish, and I said so in an article which was promptly sent 
back with an angry letter from Captain Hamber, the editor. 

He said he had written specially to me to ask for a favour- 
able review, as the author was a friend of his (I had not 
received any such letter), and asked me to write another 
notice. I replied as angrily, and absolutely refused to write 
anything but condemnation of what I thought a worthless 
book. Some severe criticisms of mine had not been pub- 
lished, but no attempt had ever been made before this time 
to interfere with the free expression of my opinion upon the 
works sent me for review. The natural result, not un- 
welcome to me, although I should have preferred its coming 
about in a more friendly fashion, was that I ceased to be a 
member of the staff of the newspapers. 

The case of Charles Windsor now had a new development. 
The New York bank brought a civil action against him 
claiming the return of the moneys he had taken. I forget 
how it was that the proceedings in the action were expedited 
but they must have been, for the case came into the list for 
trial before Lord Chief Justice Cockburn at the Guildhall of 
the City of London on July I2th, 1865. Very unusual cir- 
cumstances combined to give me the opportunity I am now 
about to describe. The case did not come into the list 
until the last day but one of the London sittings, when some 
of the country circuits were beginning. And Parliament 



had been dissolved on July 7th, and the borough elections 
were to begin on the loth. I was third Counsel 
for the defendant, Edward James having the leading 
brief, and Patrick McMahon, an experienced junior, being 

A few days before the case came on Edward James 
returned his brief to go and stand for Manchester. 

Digby Seymour was put in his place. A day or two later 
Digby Seymour went away to fight Southampton. Sergeant 
O'Malley now became leader. 

On the very day before the case came into the list O'Malley 
was called away to his work on circuit, and McMahon went 
over to Ireland to contest the seat at Wexford. So when 
on the morning of July I2th the case was called on, Sir 
John Karslake, Henry James, and Joseph Brown were there 
appearing for the plaintiffs, and I alone represented the 
defendant. I made an unavailing application for delay, 
and then the case went on. I did the best I could in cross- 
examining the witnesses, and at about half-past three in 
the afternoon the case for the plaintiffs closed. The Lord 
Chief Justice asked if I would like to address the jury, or 
have an adjournment to the next morning. " Whichever 
is most convenient to your Lordship." " No, Mr. Clarke," 
said he, "I want you to do just what you prefer." 
" Then, my Lord," I said, " I should like to put my case to 
the jury before they go away." He was delighted, and 
listened attentively to my speech, and once or twice inter- 
posed with encouraging and helpful comment. The next 
day I called witnesses and spoke again. I could not win 
the verdict, but Sir John Karslake in his reply complimented 
me on the ability I had displayed in the defence, saying 
that not only had I displayed great ability, but had also 
shown in a remarkable degree the qualities of courage and 
discretion. And Cockburn was generous in his praise. 

There was another friend to me in Court more powerful 
than either Cockburn or Karslake The Times reporter. 
William Finlaison ("Old Fin" as he was affectionately 
called) was the prince of reporters, and a lawyer of great 

1864-6] EXTRADITION 87 

learning, and was always looking out for opportunities of 
helping any young Counsel who seemed to be doing his 
work well. 

He reported in full the kind sayings of Judge and Counsel, 
and I found myself, only eight months after my call to the 
Bar, suddenly, and by this extraordinary series of unexpected 
events, brought prominently into professional and public 

Truly my speech at the " Socials " was having a great 

A few months later there was another notable extradition 
case, which naturally came to me. 

The questions involved in the case of Charles Coppin were 
not of great importance, but again I was found arguing, 
this time before Lord Chelmsiord, with Sir John Rolt, the 
Attorney-General, and Hannen against me, and again, 
though not successful in my contention, my position at the 
Bar was improved, and briefs came in with pleasant fre- 
quency. In my first year I earned one hundred guineas ; 
and in my second just double that amount. 

These two cases had made me very familiar with the 
law of extradition. I had not contented myself with 
looking up the authorities which required to be consulted 
in the cases, but had read much and made very copious 
notes upon the general subject of the surrender of criminals 
in ancient and modern times. 

So I resolved to devote the greater part of the long 
vacation to writing a little book on Extradition. 

I had much encouragement from Messrs. Stevens & 
Haynes, who agreed to publish it and to give me 50 for the 
copyright of the first edition. So I set to work at the 
Lincoln's Inn Library, and in six weeks completed the manu- 
script. I felt myself handsomely paid by the 50, but 
I did not know how much the book would bring me in credit 
and in fees. A second edition was wanted in 1874, a third 
came out in 1888, and a fourth in 1903, and I can count 
at least half-a-dozen interesting and important cases which 
came to me because I was known as the author of this work. 


I was now fairly sure of the modest income upon which 
we could venture to marry, and we had begun to talk of 
our plans when at the beginning of October Mrs. Platt died 
at the ripe age of ninety-two. The only difficulty, that of 
Annie's reluctance to leave her grandmother, had now dis- 
appeared ; a sum of 200 which came to her as a legacy 
sufficed to refurnish the little house in which she wished 
still to live ; and an income left to her of about 60 a year 
was a useful addition to what I was earning. So on the 
morning of December 29th, 1866, I left my room at Moor- 
gate Street and drove over to St. Giles, Camberwell, where 
Annie Mitchell and I were married. 



WE went down to Hastings on our wedding-day and stayed 
until Monday at the Queen's Hotel. But that was much 
too expensive to be our home for more than a couple of days, 
and we took two rooms in a tiny little house in the older 
part of Hastings, and there spent the fortnight which we 
allowed ourselves for our honeymoon. 

Coming back to town we found our little home looking 
fresh and bright, and found my father putting on the 
drawing-room mantel-shelf his wedding gift, one of my old 
shop friends, an ormolu clock, which, with new red chenille 
round the glass, was for years the brightest ornament in the 
house. In this dear little home we spent seven years of 
happy wedded life. It was indeed very small ; there were 
only seven rooms, and 33 a year was the modest rent ; 
but it was not too small to hold a great deal of happiness. 
The Peckham Park Road was not then a mere lane through 
a wilderness of bricks and mortar. Number 12, Gloucester 
Cottages, was a neat little semi-detached cottage, with its 
long garden at the back, and a grass- covered enclosure in 
front. A fine jasmine flourished on the front walls. 

" Oh ! the faint sweet smell of that jasmine flower," it 
seems to have scented my whole life ; and from the windows 
one looked over a few acres of market gardens which stretched 
away southwards towards the Old Kent Road. We had 
only one servant, but we had books and music, and when I 
came home to tea and to a long evening in the dear com- 
panionship to which I had looked forward for nine years, I 
was as happy as it was possible for a man to be. 

8 9 


One evening in the week we gave to the Choral Society 
(where, by the by, Rose Her see was a fellow member) ; on 
Saturday evening there was a whist party and bread-and- 
cheese supper at the house of some member of our little 
friendly whist club, and now and then we went to the theatre, 
or to a concert, or walked by pleasant country lanes to the 
Crystal Palace at Sydenham. Of course there had to be 
very strict economy. I gave the wife 2 los. a week for 
housekeeping, and not much was spent in dress, or wine, 
or travelling. I used to walk to the Temple and back unless 
the weather quite forbade it, and my midday meal was not 
costly, though it had to be substantial. Had I been brought 
up in the easy life of abundant means I dare say I should 
have felt this enforced economy to be a hardship ; as it 
was, with health, and love, and ambition, and the feeling 
that every month was seeing some progress made, some 
burden being lightened, some little pleasure or comfort 
added to one's surroundings, I was thoroughly happy. I 
always look upon that early marriage, narrow as our means 
were, as the wisest act for which I ever made myself re- 

I kept up my attendance at the Hardwicke Society ; and 
I still went from time to time to the House of Commons, 
but my order of admission was not renewed after the Session 
of 1867. 

So the summer of 1867 passed. My business was gradu- 
ally increasing. My accounts for 1866 had shown a booking 
of fees to an amount of 240 guineas, but I do not think I 
received them all ; at all events, they were not paid directly 
they were earned. One addition to my various interests 
may be mentioned. In the course of my work with Working 
Men's Clubs I had often been told that one very serious 
difficulty for working men was that the local tradesmen 
insisted as far as they could upon the wives taking credit. 
If a new customer came to the shop they would beg her to 
let them send in a weekly bill. The bill would not be sent, 
the wife would spend the money on something else, and 
when there was a debt for two or three weeks' supplies the 


866-73] HOME ANXIETY 91 

poor woman dared not grumble or go elsewhere, and had 
to take what the tradesman liked to supply, and very 
much at his own prices, because she could not face confessing 
to the husband how much she owed. 

At Peckham the working men complained bitterly, so I 
started a co-operative society of which I was Treasurer and 
general organiser. There are lying before me as I write the 
book of rules and a copy of the notice which called a meeting 
for the purpose of establishing the Society. 

For a time the Society was a success, but I soon found 
that the work and the troubles of the management were 
more than I could sustain, and a few months after I ceased 
to control it the Society came to an end. One of my great 
regrets is that I have never been able to do anything to put 
an end to the abominable system of imprisonment for small 
debts (and for small debts only) which disgraces our laws 
and is the cause of many mischiefs. 

In the autumn of 1867 all seemed going well with us. 

My fee book showed an increase ; my dear little wife 
and I were in the best of health and as happy as a young 
husband and wife could be, and were looking forward to 
the event which would make the joy of our home complete ; 
and in the Long Vacation we had a delightful holiday with 
some good friends at Petersfield. 

All these bright hopes were suddenly clouded. One 
evening I returned to my little home to find that the wife 
had been suddenly taken ill and had had a succession of 
alarming fits. 

Her married cousin had been sent for and had summoned 
the doctor, and he, when I saw him, was in much anxiety. 
He suggested calling in a physician, and recommended a 
young doctor at St. Thomas's Hospital Henry Gervis by 

He came, and I then made the acquaintance of a man to 
whom I owe very much. He has been my friend ever 
since, and has attended my present wife in her many 
illnesses with a skill and tenderness and consideration for 
which he has our deepest gratitude, 


Under his care the danger passed away, but the little son 
was born dead, and the dear mother had to spend many 
weeks with a nurse at Hastings before she could come back 
to home duties. 

Dr. Gervis had only charged me three guineas for his 
attendance, though he spent many hours in the sick-room, 
but the expenses of this illness fell very heavily upon me, and 
at a time when I had no reserves to meet them. I was 
obliged for the first and only time in my life to borrow 
money. An old friend, Edward Martin (then, and now, 
of Ewell), lent me 30 ; and the need of asking for this 
was a very heavy trouble to me. 

I had one great cause for anxiety in the fact that my 
life was not insured, and that my wife's 60 a year would 
be her only resource in case of my death. 

It was not my fault that I had no insurance. In Sep- 
tember 1866 when the date of our marriage was fixed, I 
proposed to the Scottish Widows' Fund to insure for 1,000, 
and went to the medical officer to be examined. The pro- 
posal was made at an unfortunate moment. The doctor 
who had for many years acted for the Society had lately 
died from a curious accident. He was pruning a fruit tree 
and the knife slipped and cut him so severely that the wound 
was fatal. Another doctor who desired to get the appoint- 
ment was temporarily doing duty, and no doubt wished to 
show that he was careful by rejecting somebody. So to my 
great surprise I heard that my proposal was rejected. 

I went at once to the chief physician at the Brompton 
Hospital, told him all the facts, and told him that although 
the date of my marriage was fixed for a fortnight later, 
nothing would induce me to go through with it if he found 
anything that could justify this refusal. He spent an hour 
in thorough examination, and then told me he could find 
nothing whatever which need give me the least hesitation 
in carrying out the marriage. The experience of fifty-one 
years during which I have never suffered from any disease, 
and have been nine times passed by the medical examiners 
of Insurance Companies, and twice accepted on ordinary 

1866-73] PROSPERITY 93 

terms by the Scottish Widows' Fund itself, has satisfied me 
that that rejection was nothing more than one of the few 
misfortunes of my life. 

But during my first year of marriage the doubt which I 
could not shake off troubled me sorely. 

I was not in debt. My earnings were sufficient for my 
ordinary needs. But I had no reserves, and no source of 
income except the fees which might or might not be forth- 
coming, and which would stop at once if my health were 
from any cause to fail. It was with a very heavy heart 
that I went down each Saturday in October and November 
to the dear invalid ; but her sweet courage and hopefulness 
and her returning health brought me back each Monday 
refreshed and strengthened. And the very heavy anxiety 
soon came to an end. By Christmas she was back at 
Peckham with all her old brightness. Those had been hours 
of darkness before the dawn of a long and prosperous day. 
Briefs came in more freely, and before 1868 was many 
months old I had repaid my friend the 30 he lent me, 
and had insured my life in the Crown Office (now the Law 
Union & Rock) for 1,000. Thenceforward I never had any 
money troubles. For forty years I was one of the richest 
men in the world. Every year my income was larger. 
Never did I spend in the year nearly as much as I earned ; 
so each Christmas found me with more provision made for 
my dear ones, partly by invested savings, arid partly by 
the very best investment of all, the increase of my life in- 

I may here state that during the forty years from 1868- 
1907 my fee-books showed an average income over the 
whole period of more than ten thousand guineas a year 

In 1868 my fee book showed an income of 300. In 1869 
the Cheltenham Election petition accounted for a rise to 
650. In 1870 540 gave me a satisfactory income ; 1871 
brought me 840 ; and in 1872, my eighth year at the Bar, 
I reached the figure of 1,010. I have never measured 
the success of a year's work by the amount of money 
earned; there are other and more important things to 


consider: but the enjoyment and expectation of a con- 
stantly increasing income is a great assurance of mental 
repose and domestic comfort. 

Until the year 1872 we continued to live at Gloucester 
Cottages. The home was certainly a very small one, but 
we wanted to feel quite safe before we made any great 
increase in our expenditure, and we both believed, what I 
am sure is the truth, that the best way of realising the 
pleasure of feeling rich is to live in a smaller house than your 
means would entitle you to have. 

In 1868 a little girl was born to us, but she lived only 
a few months, but in 1870 a sweet little daughter, Mabel, 
came to be the joy of the household, and in 1872 our cup 
of happiness was filled by the birth of my dear son Percival. 

This record of domestic life and professional advance has 
taken little space, but there is another part of my work of 
which fuller detail must be given. 



DURING the six years that passed between my leaving the 
India Office and my marriage, I had found very little time 
for direct political work. My days were spent at Lincoln's 
Inn Library, or, for one very hard-working year, at Mr. 
Bennett's chambers, or, after my call, in diligent attendance 
at the Courts and chiefly at the Old Bailey. 

Attendance, as regular as I could manage at the debates 
of the Hardwicke Society, and on Thursday and Friday 
evenings at the House of Commons, was my only means 
of preparing for the political career to which I always looked 
forward. But I had only just returned from my short 
honeymoon when I made an acquaintance which eventually 
led to my active association with the organisation of the 
Tory party. I cannot recall the exact date or place of my 
meeting with Henry Cecil Raikes, but it must have been 
in the very early days of 1867, and I think it was at a Hard- 
wicke debate. / 

Tall and thin, with kindly smiling eyes, and soft deliber- 
ate voice, a poet and a scholar, he had already, though 
only just twenty- eight years of age, fought two contested 
elections and shown himself one of the ablest of the younger 
followers of Disraeli. 

In 1865 he had unsuccessfully contested Chester against 
Mr. W. H. Gladstone, and had so freely assailed the conduct 
of his antagonist's father that the angry Prime Minister 
called him the " most impudent young man in England." 
In 1866 he had fought without success a hard fight at 



Raikes like myself had been greatly influenced by Disraeli's 
writings, and by a very remarkable speech which was de- 
livered on June 26th, 1863, and which has been hitherto 
strangely overlooked by the statesman's biographers, and 
still more strangely omitted from the reprints of his speeches. 

The Tory leader had then laid down in striking language 
and with keen political instinct the main principles of his 
political faith. Raikes, shut out from the House of Commons 
by his defeat at Devonport, resolved to attempt the work 
of gathering into a single organisation the various Conser- 
vative and Constitutional Associations which were scattered 
over the country. 

A Conservative Union existed, but in a very feeble and 
ineffectual condition ; and with the sanction, perhaps at the 
suggestion, of Lord Nevill, afterwards the Earl of Aber- 
gavenny, who was for thirty years the least prominent but 
the most powerful of Mr. Disraeli's political supporters, he 
converted it into a strong central organisation. 

He was so fortunate as to find in John Eldon Gorst a man 
whose qualities exactly fitted him to become his associate 
and fellow worker in this undertaking. 

Gorst was the senior by three years ; he came of a family 
one member of which had assumed the name of Lowndes 
on making a wealthy marriage ; he had spent a few adven- 
turous years in New Zealand ; and had been returned to 
the House of Commons as member for Cambridge in 1866. 

In the House Gorst had not distinguished himself. He 
had spoken little, and had become known chiefly through a 
phrase in one of Disraeli's speeches " the Hon. Member for 
Cambridge who seems so proud of his extreme youth." 
The contrast between him and Raikes was personal a s well 
as intellectual. Raikes was tall and graceful ; Gorst was 
short, thick-set, bustling, abrupt. Raikes, a poet and a 
polished speaker ; Gorst, incurably prosaic, with no pre- 
tentions to oratory, and a total lack of 'humour. But 
Raikes was a little indefinite in plan, and careless in detail ; 
Gorst had a genius for organisation ; was a keen judge of 
men, with an inflexible will, and an untiring diligence. 


In later years he and Louis Jennings and Drummond 
Wolff created the political Randolph Churchill. Gorst was 
rough in manner, and a little later differences arose between 
him and Raikes, but when I first met them, early in 1867, 
they were the best of friends, and each supplied the qualities 
lacking in the other. 

At their invitation I attended a meeting at the office of 
The Imperial Review in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. 
This was a weekly paper which Raikes had just started, 
and which had a costly and unprosperous existence for 
about a year and a half. Here a provisional committee 
was formed, and we entered on the work of constructing a 
society which should be in close touch with the leaders of 
the Conservative party and with which we hoped every 
Conservative Association and Club throughout the country 
would be directly connected. Raikes, Gorst, W. T. Charley, 
A. G. Marten, W. C. Harvey, and I, all members of the Bar 
(and all I think, except Gorst and Marten, under thirty 
years of age), with Mr. Leonard Sedgwick, who became the 
first secretary of the new society, were the most diligent 
attendants at the early meetings. 

In April The Imperial Review announced that a Conserva- 
tive Working Men's Association for London and a " central 
organisation designed to secure unity of action among the 
numerous small bodies existing in the country" were in 
course of formation, and Harvey at his chambers in Lincoln's 
Inn acted as honorary secretary. On June i7th the first 
meeting of the Metropolitan Conservative Working Men's 
Association was held at the Mechanics' Institute at South- 
ampton Buildings. 

Ten days later a Conference of the Conservative and 
Constitutional Associations of Lancashire was held at 
Manchester to concert measures for the organisation of the 

The autumn was spent in busy correspondence, and Raikes 
and Gorst travelled much and made many speeches. By 
November the preliminary arrangements were complete, 
and on the izth of that month a conference of the delegates 


from seventy associations was held at the Freemasons' 
Tavern, and the National Union of Conservative and Con- 
stitutional Associations was then established. Gorst (who 
presided at the conference) and Raikes were among the 
Vice-Presidents then elected. Viscount Holmesdale was 
appointed Chairman of the Council, and Raikes Vice-Chair- 
man. Leonard Sedgwick, who was recommended by Lord 
Nevill, was made Hon. Secretary. On the evening of the 
same day a dinner was held at the Crystal Palace, and 
Lord John Manners, who presided, read a letter from Disraeli 
in which he said, " None are so interested in maintaining 
the institutions of the country as the working classes. The 
rich and the powerful will not find much difficulty under any 
circumstances in maintaining their rights, but the privileges 
of the people can only be defended and secured by national 

The Imperial Review of November 23rd contained the 
first advertisement of the new organisation. 

The National Union has for its object the forming a 
centre [sic] which while repudiating any appearance of 
dictating will endeavour to give unity of idea and of action 
to the Constitutional Associations which are being formed 
throughout the country. It has been established by Lord 
Nevill, and has met with the hearty support and concurrence 
of the most influential members of the Conservative party. 

Colonel Taylor and Gerard Noel, the Conservative Whips, 
were among the Vice-Presidents. A council of twenty was 
appointed of which the six already mentioned (Raikes, 
Gorst, Charley, Marten, Harvey, and I) were members, 
and the first home of the new association was at the office 
of The Imperial Review at 19, Henrietta Street. 

In December a circular was issued explaining the object 
of the National Union to be " to give unity of ideas and 
action to the Constitutional Associations which are now 
being formed throughout the country." 

The Reform Bill of 1867, with its large extension of the 
suffrage, had just been passed, and our object was to address 


ourselves as soon as possible to the newly-enfranchised 
voters. The circular mentioned as one important means of 
increasing the influence of these associations the holding 
of quarterly meetings at which a speaker sent down by the 
National Union, if local speakers were not available, would 
deal with important public questions. The first meeting 
to which the Council were asked to send a speaker was the 
quarterly meeting of the York Conservative Association 
held at the Assembly Rooms on January 8th, 1868. 

I went to York as the first spokesman of the National 
Union, and there made my first political speech on a public 
platform. And the Council were so well pleased with their 
representative that the first pamphlet issued by the Union 
was a selection of passages from the speech I then delivered. 

I quote from the copy which lies before me a few sentences 
from the speech which began a career of political activity 
which lasted for thirty-eight years. 

In the House of Commons we have now a united and 

therefore a powerful party. In 1846 the Conservative 

party was divided, cast down, and dispirited. But during 

the last twenty years a wonderful change has been eflected, 

and chiefly by the consummate genius of the greatest of 

living politicians the present Chancellor of the Exchequer 

the party has been reorganised, and now by the power 

of its unity it holds a commanding position in the legislature, 

and it has a just confidence in the statesmen who have 

guided it so well. But besides trusted leaders and a united 

parliamentary party, it is necessary to have that steady 

popular support upon which the success of any political 

combination must depend. This is what the National 

Union of Conservative and Constitutional Associations 

will secure, and in this work you have done good service 

to-night. The battle must be fought through the agency 

of associations such as yours, and I trust, indeed I have 

every reason to predict, that there will soon be not a single 

important town in the country where a Constitutional 

Association will not be in successful operation. Thus the 

great National party will be consolidated, and we may 

confidently look forward to the peace and prosperity of 

our country being assured by a just, an enlightened, and a 

Constitutional policy. 


The election of 1868 was a disaster, but we worked hard 
and had the happiness of seeing the Tory party gradually 
rise from the almost unbroken record of defeat and impotence 
which began in 1846 until in 1874 it came back to office and 
power, and in six years vindicated by the courage and 
wisdom of its domestic legislation and the firmness and 
foresight of its Imperial policy all the hopes we had cherished 
in those early days of darkness and defeat. 

The years 1867 and 1868 were years of great political 
activity in the House of Commons and throughout the 
country. Mr. Gladstone had abandoned the hope of 
passing a Reform Bill through the House of Commons, and 
Disraeli had undertaken the apparently hopeless task of 
trying to do so in a House in which the Liberals had a 
majority of sixty-five His leadership during the months 
from February to August 1867 was a marvellous exhibition 
of patience and skill. 

The Russell Government had fallen upon the question of 
a rental as opposed to a rating franchise. 

Disraeli sent for Thring, the parliamentary draftsman, 
and told him that the Bill must be so drawn that this 
question would have to be raised by the first amendment. 
Thring obeyed instructions, and the result was that the 
first division on the Bill showed Disraeli voting in a 
majority of 310 and Gladstone with a minority of 289. 
Many concessions had, of course, to be made, but Disraeli's 
parliamentary success may be gauged by the fact that in the 
course of the struggle there were twenty-three important 
divisions in which Gladstone and Disraeli voted on opposite 
sides, and in eighteen of these Disraeli was in the winning 
lobby. The third reading passed without a division. 

The Bill became law in August, and there followed a 
twelvemonth of a very active work in the enlarged con- 

It was upon the question of the Irish Church Establish- 
ment that the chief controversy chiefly raged. I prepared 
lectures on that subject and delivered them at Lewes, at 
King's Lynn, at Dover, at Southampton, and in different 

1867-74] SWANSEA, /\ : , J \< 

parts of London. As the election drew near I became very 
busy indeed. A lecture I gave at Cheltenham led to my 
being retained (I forget the amount of the fee) to spend a 
week in the town, speaking every evening, and canvassing 
during the day with the candidate, five years younger than 
myself, my staunch friend ever since, Mr. (now Sir James) 
Agg-Gardner. The week ended with a dinner given to me 
on the Saturday night by (or for) the working men of the 
town. Then I went off to Cardiff, where my friend Hardinge 
Giffard was fighting his first contest. There my association 
with Working Men's Clubs was utilised, and besides speaking 
at the ordinary election meetings I addressed a very large 
gathering at the Drill Hall on" Questions for Working Men." 
They were so pleased with my speaking at Cardiff that I was 
asked to stay on a few days and speak at Swansea. I said 
I would if they would have an open public meeting. They 
said it could not be done ; no Tory meeting had ever been 
held with open doors, and it would not be safe for the 
speakers. I was firm, and the meeting was announced as I 
wished. The Victoria Hall (I think it was) was crowded, but 
evidently not by our friends. Not a word of the Chairman's 
Speech could be heard. Then I came to the semi-circular 
rail in front of the platform, and stood there for, I suppose, 
nearly half an hour without getting a full sentence heard. 
At last a well-known dissenting minister rose in the body of 
the hall, and made an appeal to all true Liberals to give me 
a hearing. The crowd listened to a few sentences, and some- 
how I got their attention. 

With some interruptions I made them an hour's speech: 
they seemed to think I had shown some pluck, and I got a 
good cheer at leaving. But I did not know until the next 
morning what an escape I had had : in the galleries were 
picked up pieces of rough granite, half a barrowful. They 
were meant as missiles, and it was fortunate for me that no 
one had set an example of using them. 

During a few days at Cardiff I stayed with Mr. Sherley 
(of Luard and Sherley, Lord Bute's agents), and he talked 
to me about the new paper, The Western Mail, which was 


just about to appear, and introduced me to Mr. Adams, the 
rather curious person who had been chosen as the first 
editor. (He afterwards married Lord Coleridge's daughter 
and was plaintiff in a singular action.) 

Just before going to Cardiff I had made a speech at a 
meeting at Hackney, and while staying with Mr. Shei ley I 
received a letter signed by Thomas Brooks, Chairman, and 
Edward Wimble, Secretary, on behalf of the Hackney 
election committee, asking me to stand for that borough. 
This invitation was, of course, at once declined ; but I 
saw a good deal afterwards of Edward Wimble, who was 
one of the best of the subordinate agents whose work led 
up to the triumph of 1874. 

There is not much that needs to be recorded of my political 
activities during the five years after the 1868 election. I 
lectured a good deal, and when a by-election took place I 
often had some share in the speaking. 1869 brought a 
very pleasant reminder of the Cheltenham election in the 
shape of my first brief (with a fee of fifty guineas and a 
refresher of thirty) in an election petition. Agg-Gardner 
petitioned and claimed the seat : and the report of that 
trial gives a fair idea of the roughness of political contests 
in those days. 

Chesshyre, the solicitor and agent for the Liberal candi- 
date, brought a mob of roughs, some of them prize-fighters, 
over from Birmingham, and established them in an empty 
house in the town. Each man had a coloured neckcloth 
and a thick stick given him, and they ranged over the town, 
breaking up the Tory meetings, hustling Tory canvassers, 
and protecting others from observation. A retired detective 
named Field was sent down to watch them : he passed as 
a photographer, but he was found out and set upon and left 
lying in the street with a broken leg. Baron Martin was 
the Judge ; he decided that the evidence of bribery was not 
sufficient : while as to the prize-fighters he only said that 
bringing them down like that was very wrong, very wrong 

I soon began to make preparations for standing for the 

1867-74] SOUTHWARK 103 

London constituency which elected me some years later. 
The sitting members for the borough were John Locke, a 
Liberal, one of the most popular of the leaders on the Home 
Circuit, and Marcus Beresford, a Tory, a Colonel in the 
Volunteers, and a large wharf- owner in the borough. 

Colonel Beresford was a very useful Member of Parlia- 
ment, of the type dear to party managers ; a regular atten- 
dant, a safe vote for his party, and very diligent in the 
interests of his constituents. But he was a poor speaker, 
and not very good in expressing himself in formal letters. 
I had made his acquaintance at the Surrey Sessions, and 
sometimes met him at political meetings in the South of 
London. In December 1872 he wrote to me making two 
proposals. One was that I should, " if I would not open 
my mouth too widely in the matter of fees," supply him 
with notes for speeches in or out of the House of Commons. 
The other was that I should become the recognised candidate 
for Southwark on the Tory side, as his intention was to 
retire from Parliament at the next General Election. I 
would not accept any fees, but we came to an understanding 
that I would help him with his speeches, and would draft 
resolutions or letters for him, but that nothing should be 
said for the present as to the succession to his seat. In the 
early part of 1873 the difficulties of Mr. Gladstone's Govern- 
ment became serious, and their defeat on the Irish Univer- 
sity Bill and consequent resignation, although they returned 
to office on the refusal of Mr. Disraeli to form an administra- 
tion, set all political workers in preparation for a dissolution. 
The Chairman of the Conservative party in Surrey wrote 
to me in March to say that it was likely that Baggallay, 
one of the members for Mid-Surrey, would get a judgeship, 
and asking if in that event I would be willing to stand for 
that division. But my time for entering the House of 
Commons had not yet come, and I devoted myself chiefly 
to my work as Chairman of the Conservative Association 
in the borough of Lambeth, which was even larger than 
Southwark, and which Morgan Howard, who had made a 
great fight there in 1868, was preparing to contest again. 


In May I began collecting subscriptions towards an election 
fund, and by the end of the year over 2,000 was in the bank 
in the names of Mr. John Scott and myself, and I had the 
promise of another 1,000 from the party funds. Before 
the Long Vacation everything had been put in order for the 
contest, chairman and committee appointed for each of the 
seventeen wards, ward street-lists bound, and canvassing 
books ready for immediate use. 

During the autumn I had the amusing and useful experi- 
ence of fighting an election at Dover as Deputy candidate. 
In 1871 the appointment of Jessel as Solicitor-General had 
caused a by-election, and I had been down there to make 
a speech at the introduction to the constituency of a Mr. 
Bar net t, a railway contractor who had made a fortune in 
India by building the railway from Bombay to Calcutta, 
and incidentally starting a newspaper in Calcutta which so 
long as the line was incomplete had a very valuable priority 
in getting news from Europe. Jessel held the seat, but in 
1873 he vacated it on becoming Master of the Rolls. Barnett 
had sailed for South America a few days before this was 
announced, on another railway undertaking. The Tories 
at Dover were in a great difficulty. Forbes, the Chairman 
of the Chatham and Dover Railway, was in the field at once 
on the Liberal side. Barnett could not be communicated 
with, but it was known that he had intended to try again, 
and it was determined to put him forward, and Gorst sent 
for me and asked me to go down and fight the election. I 
wrote the address, and went down, and stayed a fortnight 
at the Lord Warden Hotel, speaking on most evenings and 
canvassing every day. Dover had always been known as 
a corrupt constituency : and this election had a special 
interest, as it was the first in that borough under the ballot. 
There were a good many " freemen " at Dover : and there, 
as in other boroughs where voters of this inferior class were 
found, the method of purchasing their votes was very simple. 
Some of the " freemen " were Liberal, some were Tory. 
They and their fathers before them had always voted for 
their party, and were not easily persuaded to vote against 

1867-74] DOVER 105 

it, but unless they were paid they would not vote at all, even 
if they could not be tempted over to the other side. Some 
trusted leader of each group arranged with an agent of the 
candidate how much should be paid: it was his business 
to bring his men to the poll : and in the days of open voting 
it could, of course, be known how many had earned their 
pay. The ballot made the matter much more difficult, 
for now there was no means of knowing whether the pur- 
chased vote had been given on the right side. And at this 
election a very sharp watch was kept by detectives employed 
on either side. I have no doubt there was some bribery, 
although of course I, as the candidate, was not told anything 
about it : but a number of voters were disappointed : and 
when the polling day came the actual promises were not 
quite satisfactory, and there were a good many voters 
loitering about the town who had not yet quite made up 
their minds. In the afternoon I drove round the outlying 
parts of the borough and told the loiterers there that they 
need not trouble to come in to vote, we could win without 
them, but it was a pity they should lose the pleasure of 
being on the winning side. I think most of them came in : 
we had a large poll, and won by 326, the largest majority a 
Conservative had ever had in Dover. The result was most 
satisfactory to me, but poor Barnett never took his seat. 
Before he returned to England the General Election came, 
and I think he found he had spent more money in the two 
contests than he had expected them to cost. He never 
reappeared in English politics. 

On Saturday January 24th, 1874, came the sudden 
announcement of the General Election. In the previous 
August Gladstone had told the Queen that it was the 
intention of the Government to meet Parliament, and that 
they hoped to carry through the business of a full session. 
But there had been difficulties with Cardwell about the 
estimates : two by-elections at Stroud and Newcastle had 
shown the growing strength of the Opposition in the con- 
stituencies; and there was behind all this the personal 
difficulty which had arisen with regard to his seat for 


Greenwich. Coleridge and Jessel had advised that his 
acceptance of the office of Chancellor of the Exchequer in 
addition to that of First Lord of the Treasury, which he had 
held since the formation of the Ministry, did not vacate 
his seat. But Harcourt and James, who were now the Law 
Officers, and who took Bowen into consultation, declined to 
express any opinion, and the Lord Chancellor, Selborne, was 
insistent in his opinion that the taking of this additional 
office had rendered the seat vacant. 

Notice had been sent to the Prime Minister that if he sat 
and voted he would be sued for penalties, and the Opposition 
Whip had told the Speaker that the question would be 
raised as soon as the House met. A strong Conservative 
candidate was ready to come forward. The defeat of the 
Prime Minister at a by-election, the delay involved in finding 
him a safe seat elsewhere, would have been dangerous to a 
ministry already seriously weakened. This personal diffi- 
culty was not the main cause of the decision to dissolve, but 
it cannot have been without its effect. 

Gladstone's address appeared in The Times on Saturday 
morning. At 5 o'clock that afternoon I was in the chair at 
a full meeting of the Council of the Lambeth Association : 
the seventeen ward registers were on the table, and each 
volume was handed over to the ward chairman, and he went 
off to meet his ward committee later in the evening. I had 
made up my mind to do nothing in the election, except to 
speak and canvass in the borough of Lambeth, but a couple 
of days later an unfortunate difference arose between me 
and Morgan Howard as to the control of expenditure during 
the election. As the funds had been collected by me, and 
stood in my name at the bank, I thought I ought to be 
consulted before any large contracts were made for printing 
or advertising or the expenses of public meetings. Howard 
refused to consult me at all, and claimed that he had the 
sole right of controlling expenditure, and that my duty was 
simply to pay over the money. I could not accept this 
position, so vacated the chair in favour of the vice-chair- 
man, on the ostensible ground that I was wanted in other 


I867-74J WOODSTOCK 107 

parts of the country. It was a fortunate release for me, as 
it led to my making acquaintance with Lord Randolph 
Churchill in circumstances which led to a friendship that 
lasted, with one interruption, to the end of his life. 

On the following Tuesday I went down to make a 
speech at Woodstock. At Woodstock Road I was met 
by Mr. Barnett, a banker and the agent of the Duke of 
Marlborough, who had for nine years occupied the seat until 
one of the Duke's sons should be ready and willing to stand. 
As he drove me across the country in a wagonette he gave 
me some account of the political situation in the borough. 
It had always been looked upon as a pocket borough of the 
Duke of Marlborough's, but at the election in 1868 Mr. 
George Brodrick (afterwards Warden of Merton), a brother 
of Lord Midleton, had very nearly captured the seat, the 
majority against him being only twenty-one. This election 
was expected to be very close, and in view of the fact that the 
Ballot Act had passed and was supposed to have greatly 
weakened territorial influence the Radicals had strong 
hope of winning the seat. The Tory candidate was Lord 
Randolph Churchill, the younger son of the Duke, who was 
only twenty-four years of age and had never shown any 
interest in political work. 

Indeed, there had been difficulty in persuading him to 
stand. He had only consented on getting his father's 
reluctant consent to his marriage to a beautiful American 
girl, a Miss Jerome, whom he had met at the Isle of Wight in 
the previous autumn and to whom he had become engaged 
after three days' acquaintance. Mr. George Brodrick was 
standing again, and at the urgent request of the Duke the 
Tory organisers had agreed to send down a speaker. When 
we reached Woodstock we heard as we drove past the public 
hall the cheers of the Liberals whom Mr. Brodrick was 

Arrived at the principal inn, we went upstairs, and there 
in a large low-ceilinged room I found some thirty or forty 
solid-looking gentlemen who were apparently awaiting my 


I shook hands with the chairman and asked when the 
meeting was to take place. " Oh," said he, " this is the 
meeting ; these are all good friends of ours who are looking 
forward to the pleasure of hearing you." 

I accepted the situation and gave them an hour's speech 
on general topics. Then I asked about a public meeting, 
and was told that the Tory candidate was so young and so 
inexperienced in public speaking that it had been decided 
not to have a larger meeting, but to trust to the canvassing 
of the gentlemen I had just addressed. I vehemently pro- 
tested. I told them I did not believe there was a con- 
stituency in England that could be won by a candidate 
whose friends did not venture to put him on the platform, 
and after much discussion it was agreed that if I would stay 
and speak a meeting should be held. 

I was due at Bath on the following day, so the meeting 
was fixed for the Friday evening. I went on to Bath and 
spoke there on Wednesday at a dinner given to Lord Grey de 
Wilton and Major Bousfield, and the next morning came 
back to Woodstock. Then I met Lord Randolph Churchill, 
a nervous, rather awkward young man, who certainly 
seemed to have the most elementary ideas about current 
politics. We had some talk about the subjects he was going 
to deal with in his speech. I wrote out four or five questions 
which were to be put into friendly hands and asked from 
the back of the room, and gave Lord Randolph the answers. 
When we came to the meeting Lord Randolph was very 
nervous. He had written out his speech on small sheets 
of paper, and thought that if he put his hat on the table and 
the papers in the bottom of the hat he would be able to 
read them. This, of course, he could not do. There was a 
rather noisy audience, who gibed at him and shouted to him 
to take the things out of his hat, and so on, and the speech 
was far from being a success. But the questions and answers 
went very well ; then I made a speech, and taken altogether 
the meeting went off very well. The next morning Lord 
Randolph wrote to Miss Jerome : " We had a good meeting 
last night which was very successful. We had a good 

1867-74] CARDIFF 109 

speaker down from London and I made a speech." The 
result of the polling was a great disappointment to the 
Liberals, for they were beaten by 569 votes to 404. A 
fortnight later I had a letter from Lord Randolph from 
Paris, where he hastened to join Miss Jerome directly the 
election was over. 

He said, " I really am quite confident that many of the 
votes, if not the majority, may be attributed to your ex- 
cellent speech." 

I then went to Cardiff to speak for Hardinge Giffard, who 
was making a second attempt to win the seat. Except 
upon the platform, where he was always good, he was a very 
poor candidate. 

Mr. Sherley complained to me that he was very idle 
about canvassing, preferring to stay at home and read, and 
that when he did canvass he was very unconciliatory. He 
was beaten by nine votes, and when I met him in 
London I congratulated him on his defeat. He was very 
downcast, and thought I was unkindly laughing at him. 
I told him my congratulations were quite sincere ; that if 
he had been elected by nine votes his party could not 
have made him a law officer for fear of losing the seat. 

" Now," said I, " you will make a lot of money in 
election petitions, and then they will find you a safe seat, 
and give you office." My prediction cheered him up and 
was exactly fulfilled ; indeed his good fortune was greater 
than I had foretold, for at the trial of the election petition 
at Windsor he met Miss Woodfall, the niece of his client, 
and found in her a charming wife through whom a large 
fortune came to their children. 



I MAY here interpose an account of one of the interests and 
activities of my life without which the story would be in- 
complete. In the year 1861 I was on a walking trip through 
North Wales, and staying a couple of nights at Dolgelly 
I made the acquaintance of two young men who were 
spending their holiday together. One was Nelson Ward, 
a grandson of the great admiral, son of the Horatia whom 
he bequeathed to the care of the nation. She was not 
wholly neglected and had a pension of 300 a year. One 
of her sons became a Commander in the Navy, another, my 
travelling acquaintance, had a clerkship in Chancery, and 
eventually became a Registrar, and the pension was con- 
tinued to a daughter who survived her. This daughter 
married a young solicitor named William Johnson, who 
was with his brother-in-law at Dolgelly. The chance 
meeting had very pleasant results for me. A close friend- 
ship grew up between us and lasted until their deaths many 
years later. I used occasionally to go to Pinner to see the 
dear old lady, whose rooms were full of drawings and en- 
gravings and mementoes of her illustrious father and of 
Lady Hamilton. She herself in face and figure was very 
like the portraits of Lord Nelson. The friendship with 
William Johnson had more important consequences. He 
was the Secretary of the Masonic Lodge " Caledonian 134," 
and in the year 1871 I was initiated into Masonry at that 
Lodge. We used to meet at the Ship and Turtle in Leaden- 
hall Street. Two of the other members of the Lodge may 
here be named. One was E. W. Mackney, in his day the 
most popular of comic singers, and the first and best of 





negro melodists. Mackney told me that his father had 
been an usher in the school at Epping Forest where young 
Disraeli spent some years between 1815 and 1821. And he 
told me that many years later when Disraeli was in office 
it must, I think, have been in 1852 his father, who had not 
been very prosperous, made some appeal to his old pupil, 
and was very kindly and generously received. The other 
was Joshua Nunn, who was United States Consul in London, 
and whose acquaintance proved useful to me in my pro- 
fession. During the year 1872 the question of the indirect 
claims arising out of the blockade running during the 
American Civil War required a great deal of evidence to be 
taken on commission in London, and I find that in four 
cases of this kind I appeared as Counsel for the United 
States Government. 

I was very diligent in my Masonic duties, and learning 
with facility the voluminous addresses and the elaborate 
ritual of the craft I went very quickly through the offices 
of the Lodge. So quickly that when in 1875 the Prince of 
Wales, afterwards Edward VII, was installed Grand Master 
of Masons in England I was already Master of the Cale- 
donian Lodge. The great ceremony of the Prince's in- 
stallation took place at the Albert Hall, and was the most 
picturesque and impressive public function I ever witnessed. 
Some 8,000 Masons, all of them Masters or Wardens or 
Past Masters of their respective lodges, filled the great hall. 
The floor was a mass of purple, the clothing of the Grand 
and Provincial Grand officers, along each line of seats ran 
a band of light blue, the collars and aprons of the officers 
of the craft. The seating was controlled by Thomas Fenn, 
an old and much respected Mason ; and besides the ordinary 
stewards he had under him a staff of about twenty aides-de- 
camp, each the actual Master of his lodge, of whom I had 
the good fortune to be one. I had a pass-key which opened 
every door of the building, and so I was able to see the 
magnificent spectacle from every point of view. When the 
Lodge was closely tiled and the ceremony commenced the 
aides-de-camp joined their chief on the side of the platform. 


The Prince filled his place nobly, and his fine resonant 
voice rang out clearly in the crowded hall. 

It was a strangely emotional assembly. When the first 
salute was given it was a little ragged and uncertain, and 
there was a whisper of dissatisfaction. Sir Albert Woods 
paused a little, and when next he gave the signal the 
thousands of hands met with a sharp volume of sound 
which had an extraordinary effect. I saw old men near 
me crying like children. 1 

I kept up my Masonic work until I became member for 
Plymouth. Then I practically abandoned it for twenty 
years. Parliamentary duties made it difficult to attend 
lodge meetings or banquets in London, and I would not take 
part in Masonic work at Plymouth, partly because I wished 
to avoid the slightest possibility of its being connected with 
politics, and partly because I should have been burdened 
with the necessity of paying equal attention to each of the 
three lodges which flourished in my constituency. 

So for many years I only went to Masonic gatherings 
on very special occasions, such as the consecration of the 
Guildhall Lodge, the United Wards Lodge, of which I was 
one of the Founders, and the Canada Lodge, and the 
notable dinner of the Chancery Bar Lodge at Lincoln's Inn 
Hall when the Grand Master the Duke of Connaught was 

In 1903 the Duke honoured me by conferring on me the 
rank of Past Grand Warden, and I wore my purple clothing 
for the first time at a great gathering of Canadian Masons 
who entertained me at Toronto during my trip through 
Canada in the autumn of that year. In 1912 my friends 
at the City of London College did me the greater honour 
of founding a new lodge, calling it the Sir Edward Clarke 
Lodge (3601), and inviting me to be its first Master. My 
good old friend Sir Edward Letchworth, whose services as 
Grand Secretary were of inestimable value to English Free- 

I again served as a Steward, forty-two years later, at the great Masonic 
gatherings at the Albert Hall on Saturday and Sunday June 23rd and 24th, 
1917. to celebrate the bicentenary of the foundation of Grand Lodge. 


masonry, performed the ceremony of consecration, and I 
had a happy year of office, though I confess it was not easy 
to regain mastery of the ritual and the official forms. I 
have done several things which I hope may cause my name to 
be remembered when my life's work here is ended ; perhaps 
the Sir Edward Clarke Lodge will be the most lasting of 
my memorials. For I cannot imagine any changes in the 
political or social condition of England which can weaken 
the strong hold which Freemasonry has upon our people. 
I trust no such changes may take place, for I look upon our 
Masonic Lodges as centres of a powerful influence which is 
constantly having effect in purifying and upholding our 
national character. The work of Masonry is essentially 
religious. Its teaching has indeed no relation to the 
doctrines which distinguish and divide the Churches. But 
it proclaims at every meeting its reverence for the Great 
Architect of the Universe ; it hymns His praises ; it invokes 
His blessing upon all its work ; it teaches in all its formu- 
laries the virtues of brotherly love, charity, and truth ; and 
the solemn obligations by which its members are bound 
together are only special sanctions of the Divine law which 
bids us fear God and love our neighbours. I do not say 
that all Masons are good men, but no bad man can be a 
good Mason, and he will soon leave off attending Masonic 
lodges, for to the man who is dishonest or immoral, or 
covetous, or uncharitable in thought, or slanderous in 
speech, it must soon be intolerable to listen to the noble 
teaching of the Masonic ritual. A full clear note is sounded 
in every hymn and every response in which he joins, and to 
his conscience there must come at once the bitter reproach 
of insincerity and falsehood. 

From 1874 to 1877 my life was uneventful, but very 
prosperous and happy. In 1 872 we had left our very humble 
home in the Peckham Park Road and gone to a much larger 
house called Dagmar Villa, which stood in a pleasant open 
position at the corner of Dagmar Road, Camberwell, and 
had a good garden. Here for five years I had that full 
enjoyment of life which can only come to a man who has 


good health, complete domestic happiness, and an income 
steadily increasing from year to year. My dear little wife 
was at woman's most charming age ; our sweet little Mabel 
was life and sunshine to the house; in 1875 another 
baby girl came to bring us fresh joys ; and the trouble of 
financial anxieties had wholly passed away. In 1873 my 
fees amounted to 1,152, and during the next three years 
they increased at the rate of 500 a year ; the figures for 
the successive years being 1,566, 2,225, and 2,650. 

I was now saving money steadily, my life was insured 
for 4,000, and as year after year went on we surrounded 
ourselves with comforts and luxuries which had been un- 
known to us in our early days of severe economies. We 
enlarged our circle of acquaintances. We went often to 
theatres and concerts. I began to buy books and bronzes 
and engravings. 

One night a week was given to the Amateur Musical 
Society, and every Saturday a small private whist-club met 
at the house of one or other of the members who took his 
turn in providing supper. 

I look back on those peaceful and pleasant years as a 
time of sweet rest and contentment when the first steep 
climb was over and I could pause and take breath for the 
heights which had yet to be scaled. In the year 1875 a 
cloud came over our sunny sky in the illness of my brother 
Joseph, and I think I may fitly choose this place to tell the 
story of an episode in my family life which I should not like 
to leave unrecorded. My brother, who was four years my 
junior, had been educated at the City of London School. 
Here he greatly distinguished himself. In 1860 he won the 
David Salomon Scholarship at the School, of 30 a year, 
and took the prize for Scripture. In 1861 he delivered 
the Declamation in German and took the Scriptural prize 
and the highest prize for General Proficiency and Good 

In 1862 he delivered the Declamation in French and 
gained the Conquest Gold Medal ; the highest prize in 
English ; and the Carpenter Club prize for English History. 

1874-7] MY BROTHER JOSEPH 115 

In 1863 as Captain of the School he delivered the Decla- 
mation in English ; and took the Hale Medal for Chemical 
Science, the Latin Verse Competition Prize, and the highest 
Prize in German and the first Shakespeare Prize ; and left 
the School for Magdalen College, Oxford, with the Grocers' 
Company Exhibition of 50 a year and a Natural Science 
Demyship of 75, and the declaration by Dr. Mortimer, the 
Headmaster, that he was the best classical scholar the School 
had ever sent out. He was a bright fair-haired active lad 
of seventeen, of a singularly sweet and lovable disposition, 
frank, generous, full of industry and courage, with an in- 
stinctive purity of thought and life, giving promise of a 
career of brilliant usefulness. All loved him ; his fond 
mother looked forward to a future in which all his gifts 
and qualities would find full scope in the ministry of the 
English Church. For a time all went well, and his Oxford 
life was full of enjoyment for himself and satisfaction for 
his friends. But presently he made the acquaintance of 
Father Comberbatch, who was conducting an active pro- 
paganda for the Roman Catholic Church among Oxford 
students, and in the autumn of 1865 he wrote to me saying 
that he was much shaken in his belief in the teaching of the 
Anglican Church, and that he was seriously thinking of 
leaving it for that of Rome. 

I begged him to pause before taking such a step, and 
obtained his promise that he would take no step for six 
months, and that meanwhile he would study books, some of 
which I suggested, on the Protestant side of the controversy, 
and would discuss his difficulties with those who were better 
qualified than I to advise and direct him. He kept his 
promise, and at the end of the time he told me that his mind 
was made up, and that he had in fact been received into 
the Church of Rome. The immediate consequences were 
very sad. The authorities of Magdalen College passed a 
new regulation by which no one was permitted to hold a 
College sizarship unless he attended the Chapel services. 
My brother could not obtain a dispensation permitting him 
to do this, and he was obliged to leave Oxford. 


Unhappily the doors of his home were closed against him. 
My father and mother were Protestants of a somewhat 
narrow type, and they were sorely angered. 

They refused even to see him. I was living at Moorgate 
Street and contributing to the family expenses, and could 
not afford to keep him, and in his despair he asked the 
Passionist Father at St. Joseph's Retreat, Highgate, to 
receive him as a postulant. Here he was most kindly 
treated, and came under the influence of Father Pius, a man 
of great intellectual and personal charm, and in his society 
my brother was confirmed in his new faith, and found some 
compensation for the loss of the congenial surroundings of 

In due time he passed to the house of the Order at Broad- 
way, Worcestershire, there to serve his novitiate, and in 
1866 he wrote to tell me that he had been accepted, and 
was to make his profession before the Bishop of Clifton, and 
sent me an invitation from Father Salvian, the head of the 
house, to come to Broadway and be present at his reception 
into the Order. 

I stayed at Broadway for three days, and was for the 
greater part of the time alone with my brother, and I urged 
him if he had any doubts as to Roman Catholic doctrines or 
as to his own vocation for the monastic life not to take an 
irrevocable step, but to come to the home I was now able 
to offer him. He had no doubts, and on the Sunday I 
saw him make his profession. For a time, while he remained 
at Broadway, all went well, but presently he was sent to 
do educational work at the house of the Order at Harold's 
Cross, Dublin. There his faith received a sudden and 
violent shock. He found himself in a religious atmosphere 
in which his refined intellect and saintly soul could hardly 
breathe. He was among priests and novices and postulants 
who were for the most part sons of Irish peasants ; and, away 
from the sentimental sophistries and subtle evasions by 
which the more intellectual Romanists mask and evade the 
difficulties of their creed, he came face to face with the coarse 
and ignorant superstition which has hindered moral and in- 

1874^7] A SAD ENDING 

tellectual progress in every Roman Catholic country. He 
could not endure the strain, and after a year or two of great 
mental suffering he determined to leave the Passionist Order, 
and obtained from Rome a release from his monastic vows. 
The rest of his life was full of sadness, and was a slow but 
unbroken course of mental and physical failure. He tried 
many occupations. He was for a time a tutor at St. 
Edmund's College ; then he taught in a private family ; 
then, with an old school friend, he prepared candidates for 
University and Civil Service examinations ; for a time 
he was employed in a music publisher's office. Seeing 
him often, and watching him with anxious affection, I SOOD 
became aware of a gradual weakening of his mental and 
physical powers. His steady, hopeful will changed into a 
fitful indecision, sometimes impetuous and sanguine, some- 
times gloomy with despondency. His sweetness of affection 
and his gentle charity and sympathy for others never failed ; 
but the early comfort of his religious faith was lost in a 
habit of constant introspection, full of anxiety and terror. 
At length there came a crisis. 

One evening I was working alone in my room at Garden 
Court when I heard a loud and hurried knock and a sound 
as of some one falling in the passage. I opened the door, 
and just outside it I found my poor brother, on his knees 
and sobbing as if his heart would break. I got him into the 
room, and then he told his sorrow. He had that afternoon 
been riding in an omnibus, where, after he entered, there 
was one vacant seat. Two ladies wanted to come in, 
and the conductor asked if any gentleman would ride out- 
side and so give them room. It was a cold wet day ; and 
my brother had been warned that his chest was delicate, 
and that he ought to run no risk. So he sat still, as others 
did, and the ladies were left outside again. Then remorse 
and terror seized him. He had been wanting in Christian 
charity. Perhaps the danger he had feared for himself 
might bring illness or death to one or both of them. He 
rushed down to the Temple to find me, and by the time he 
reached my door he was in the extremity of terror lest he 



should die in this mortal sin and his soul be eternally lost. 
I talked to him and tried to comfort him, and to some extent 
succeeded ; but from that time I felt that it was dangerous 
for him to be going about alone. Indeed he felt so too ; he 
always tried to get a companion : when alone he hastened 
through the streets as if pursued, and he was quite unfit for 
any occupation. A very able and high-minded doctor of 
my acquaintance kept a well-known asylum in the Peckham 
Road, and I suggested to my brother that he should be 
placed there as a patient. After a little hesitation he con- 
sented, and one sad evening, his luggage having been sent 
before, we walked together to the house, and I left him 
in my friend's charge. The step was not taken a week 
too soon, for the mind was fatally impaired, and as if in 
sympathy the body failed also. For about four months 
in 1876 I spent several hours with him every Sunday after- 
noon. He was content and fairly happy, and expressed 
no desire to come out into a world with whose tumultuous 
life he felt himself too weak to cope. And gradually the 
body grew feebler and the mind lost its power of consecutive 
thought. By the end of the year he was scarcely able to 
leave his room, and the doctor told me he did not think 
he could last many weeks. So I took him to the house 
of a medical man at Holloway, where he was near the 
Passionist Monastery, from which the priests used to come 
to see him, and near also to my father's house. Here he 
gradually sank into occasional, and then into almost con- 
tinuous, coma, and on March i8th, 1876, while my sister 
Fanny and I sat by his bedside, his pure and gentle spirit 
passed away. 

I have said before that the only way to make sure of feeling 
wealthy is to live in a much smaller and cheaper house than 
one could reasonably afford, and notwithstanding my rapid 
increase of income I think we should have continued to live 
at Dagmar Villa if in the spring of 1877 the opportunity 
had not occurred of securing the pleasantest house in the 
neighbourhood I did not wish to leave. Huntingdon Lodge 
was a well-built square house of about seventeen rooms, 


standing well back from the Peckham Road, with a large 
square garden at the back, and a smaller one, but with 
pleasant, well-grown trees, at the side of the house, 
and filling up the frontage between Southampton Street 
and Camden Grove. 

It was just the house which would suit the Member for 
a South London constituency ; and having been occupied 
for many years by Mr. Waterlow, the father of Sir Sydney 
Water low, who was Lord Mayor of London in 1872, it was 
in excellent condition. I took it at Lady Day, 1877, at a 
rent of 120 a year, and we spent a good deal of money in 
furnishing, and again altered the standard of our domestic 
expenditure. In June 1877 there were some apprehensions 
that the campaign which Mr. Gladstone had begun in the 
previous year on the subject of the Bulgarian atrocities 
might imperil the Government and lead to an early General 
Election, and at a meeting held at the Hop Exchange in the 
borough on July 6th I was adopted as the Conservative 
candidate for Southwark if a dissolution should take place. 

It was a very large constituency of 250,000 people, with 
22,000 electors, and the candidature promised to be a very 
arduous one, partly because of its great expense, and partly 
because it was extremely difficult to make oneself personally 
known, or even known by name, to such an electorate. 
Again my good fortune was shown, and two cases which 
came to me quite close together not only brought me an 
assured success in my profession, but were of a character 
which made my name known to the world in a way which 
nothing else could have secured to me. 



FROM the professional point of view the most important 
of all my years of practice at the Bar was the year 1877. 
My income had steadily risen, the days of anxiety as to 
success or failure had gone by ; what I wanted was that 
now, when I was just reaching the age of achievement, when 
all my powers were at their fullest strength, I should have 
a conspicuous opportunity of showing that I was capable 
of dealing with the gravest difficulties and responsibilities 
which an advocate can have to meet. That opportunity 
came in the case which for several months in 1877 was 
known as the Penge mystery. 

This concerned the death of a woman named Harriet 
Staunton, one of the two daughters of a Mrs. Richardson. 
Mrs. Richardson was the illegitimate child of one Eleanor 
Suter, who many years after her daughter's birth married 
the sixth (and last) Baron Rivers of Sudeley Castle. The 
elder daughter married William George Howard, the heir- 
presumptive to the Earldom of Wicklow, and after his death 
put forward a boy as his child, and made an unsuccessful 
claim to the Earldom. She afterwards married a Mr. 

Harriet Richardson, the younger sister, had always been 
a source of some anxiety to her mother. Her intellect was 
weak ; she was incapable of receiving much education, 
and was, in her mother's opinion, quite unfit for marriage. 

At the death of Lady Rivers, which took place in 1872, 

1 The substance of this chapter is taken from a fuller account of the 
Penge case which appeared in The Cornhill Magazine of April 1915. 



each of the two sisters became entitled to money, Harriet's 
share being about 2,000 in possession and about the same 
amount in reversion. She was then or shortly after living 
with some relatives in the south of London. In 1874 
her mother, who was now Mrs. Butt erfi eld, having after 
Richardson's death married a country clergyman, heard 
that a young auctioneer's clerk, named Louis Staunton, 
who was twelve years younger than Harriet, was proposing 
to marry her. She at once made an attempt to have 
her daughter declared a lunatic, and her money placed 
under the protection of the Court of Chancery ; but this 
attempt was unsuccessful and the marriage took place 
in June 1875. The newly married couple went to live 
at a small house in Loughborough Road, Brixton, which 
had been furnished with part of Harriet's money, and 
there a few weeks later Mrs. Butterfield paid them an 
unexpected visit. Both husband and wife were at home, 
and, as was quite natural in the circumstances, they re- 
ceived her very coldly, and a few days later s*he received 
letters from them both, asking that the visit should not be 
repeated. She never after that saw her daughter alive. 
From time to time she made inquiries about her, and a year 
later she heard that the house in Brixton had been given 
up, and that Harriet, with her child, who had been born 
in March 1876, was living at the house of her brother-in- 
law, Patrick Staunton, at Cudham in Kent. Seriously 
uneasy, she made several attempts to find her. Happening 
to meet Patrick Staunton at a railway station she asked 
where her daughter was, and he said he knew nothing about 
her. Then, in March, she went down to Cudham and found 
that Mr. and Mrs. Louis Staunton were living at a house 
called " The Woodlands." She went there and saw Louis 
and Mrs. Patrick Staunton and begged to be allowed to see 
her daughter. She was told that Harriet was not there. 
The poor mother did not believe this ; she said she did not 
want to talk to her daughter, but just to see her, if only at 
a distance, to be assured that she was still alive. She was 
driven from the house with abuse and threats of violence, 


and an application she made to the local police had no 

Six weeks passed. No knowledge of her whereabouts 
could be obtained. And then a strange coincidence, so 
strange that if found in fiction it would be ridiculed as too 
improbable, led to the discovery and investigation of a great 
tragedy. On the evening of Friday, April I3th, Mr. Casa- 
bianca, who had married Mrs. William George Howard, had 
occasion to go to a shop at the corner of a then unfinished 
road at Penge, called Forbes Road. 

Mr. Casabianca knew nothing about the Stauntons, except 
that his wife's sister had married a young man of that name, 
and that Mrs. Butterfield had been vainly trying to ascertain 
her whereabouts. The shop was the local post-office, and, 
while Mr. Casabianca was doing the business which had 
brought him there, a young man, whom he had never seen 
before, came in to ask where a death which had occurred 
that afternoon in Forbes Road would have to be registered. 
Forbes Road was on the boundary road between two counties, 
the houses on one side being in Kent, and those on the other 
side in Surrey, so it was natural that inquiry should have 
to be made, and that it should be made at that shop. But 
the young man was needlessly garrulous ; and one quite 
unnecessary statement had momentous results. He said 
that the lady whose death was to be registered had been 
brought from Cudham. That word reminded Mr. Casa- 
bianca that it was at Cudham that Mrs. Butterfield had 
made inquiries, and he acted promptly. 

He went the next morning to the police, and upon his 
suggestion inquiries were made. The doctor who had given 
a certificate of death withdrew it ; the coroner ordered an 
inquest, and on April igth a post-mortem examination was 
made by four doctors who agreed that death had been 
caused by starvation. 

I was to have appeared for the Stauntons at the inquest, 
but I had engagements in town, and Percy Gye went down 
on the first hearing and Douglas Straight was taken in on 
the second. They had a very difficult task, for when the 

i8 7 7] 



story became known there was a furious outburst of public 
indignation. When the Stauntons attended to give evidence 
before the coroner they were with difficulty protected from 
the violence of the crowd, and they were advised by their 
counsel not to be present at the close of the inquiry. The 
violence of the public feeling is easily understood when the 
facts proved at the inquest are narrated. 

For rather more than a year after their marriage in June 
1875 Mr. and Mrs. Louis Staunton continued to live at 
Brixton, and there in March 1876 a little son was born. 
About that time a pretty girl of eighteen, Alice Rhodes, 
whose sister had married Patrick Staunton, came to live 
in the house, and Mrs. Louis soon had cause to suspect that 
immoral relations existed between her husband and this 
girl. A few months of constant quarrelling and unhappiness 
followed, and then in August 1876 Harriet and her child 
were sent down to Cudham in Kent to live with Patrick 
Staunton and his wife. Patrick was an artist with very 
small means, and lived in a little cottage of only four or five 
rooms. A little later Louis, who had by this time obtained 
and spent all the money his wife had inherited, and had 
induced her to sell her reversionary interests and let him 
have the proceeds, took Alice Rhodes to live as his wife at 
" The Woodlands," a house which he took and furnished 
only a mile from Patrick Staunton' s cottage. From that 
time Harriet Staunton was never seen except by Patrick 
Staunton and his wife, and their servant Clara Brown, who 
was a first cousin of Mrs. Patrick and Alice Rhodes, and 
once or twice accidentally by chance visitors to the house. 
The neighbours and tradespeople did not know she was 
living there. 

Six months passed by. During that time Harriet Staun- 
ton only left the house twice when she was brought to 
London by her husband to make her declaration as a married 
woman respecting the deed of assignment of a reversionary 
interest to which she had become entitled on the death of 
her " great-aunt," Lady Rivers, in 1872, and a part of 
which, being her only remaining property, was now sold for 


1,100. Except for these two visits to London she was 
closely confined to the cottage ; her hat and shawl were 
locked up, and when strangers came she was ordered to stay 

On the afternoon of Sunday, April 8th, 1877, Mr. and 
Mrs. Patrick Staunton took the child to Guy's Hospital, and 
asked that it might be taken in, as its mother was not able 
to take care of it. They gave their own address, but said 
the boy's name was Henry Stormton, and that its father was 
a carpenter. The child was only taken in by the house 
surgeon because he saw it was in a dying condition. It died 
at nine o'clock that evening, and on the following Tuesday, 
the loth, Louis Staunton gave instructions for its burial 
to an undertaker in South wark. He gave his own name 
as John Harris, and said that he represented the firm where 
the father of the child was employed. 

On Thursday, April I2th, Louis Staunton and Mrs. 
Patrick Staunton took lodgings in Forbes Road, Penge, for 
an invalid lady, and that evening Harriet Staunton, who 
was now too ill to walk, was put into a wagonette at Cudham 
and driven to Bromley station. Thence the party, con- 
sisting of Louis Staunton, Patrick Staunton and his wife, 
and Alice Rhodes, came by train to Penge, and the sick 
woman was taken in a cab to Forbes Road, and carried into 
the lodgings. 

A doctor upon whom Louis Staunton had called that 
afternoon was then sent for, but he was out and did not 
return home until late ; and not knowing the urgency of 
the case he did not go round that night. 

Mrs. Patrick Staunton and her sister stayed up during 
the night, and at nine o'clock the next morning Alice Rhodes 
fetched the doctor. He found Harriet Staunton insensible, 
the arms rigid, one eye dilated, the other greatly contracted. 
A nurse was immediately procured, and the doctor paid a 
second visit, but the invalid never recovered consciousness, 
and about half-past one of the same day she died. The 
nurse got some water to wash the body, but found it in such 
S filthy state that she coulc]. not do so, It was caked with 


dirt that could not be washed off with a flannel. There 
was a great deal of hair on the head ; it had not been combed 
or brushed for so long a time that it was full of lice, and had 
to be left untouched. 

When the post-mortem examination was made, six days 
later, the body was found to be fearfully emaciated and 
filthily dirty all over, particularly the feet, which the nurse 
had not examined. The skin of the feet was quite horny, and 
the feet were caked with dirt. The horny condition would 
be produced by walking for some time without shoes or 
stockings. The height of the body was 5 feet 5J- inches. 
The ordinary weight in a woman of that height would be 
between nine and ten stone. Harriet Staunton was thin, 
and in health only weighed about eight stone ; now the 
body weighed only 5 st. 4 lb., and the internal organs 
were proportionally small and light ; there was tubercular 
deposit at the apex of the left lung and upon the membranes 
of the brain. The congestion of the upper part of the 
stomach and of the brain suggested poison, and the condition 
of the eyes seemed to indicate that a narcotic had been 
taken or administered ; but an analysis negatived the idea 
of poisoning, and the conclusion arrived at was that death 
had been caused by starvation. There was a darkening 
of the skin which suggested Addi son's disease or diabetes, but 
the only certain indication of the presence of either disease 
was neglected, for the urine and the supra-renal capsules 
were not examined. Acting on his observation of the 
symptoms preceding death and the information given him 
by the Stauntons, the doctor had given a certificate that the 
cause of death was primarily cerebral disease, and secondly, 
apoplexy ; an undertaker had been called in, and the funeral 
arranged for the following Monday. If it had not been for 
the mention of Cudham in Louis S taunt on' s careless con- 
versation at the post-office that funeral would have closed 
the story of Harriet Staunton, and the famous Penge case 
would never have been heard of. 

On May igth the coroner's jury gave a verdict of wilful 
murder against the three Stauntons and Alice Rhodes, and 


at the Kent Assizes in July a true bill was found by the 
grand jury after a very able charge by Sir James Stephen, 
who laid much stress upon the distinction which should be 
drawn between the case against Alice Rhodes and that 
against the Stauntons in whose care Harriet had been. 
The indictment was removed for trial to the Central Criminal 
Court upon proof of the strong feeling against the prisoners 
in the county of Kent, and came on for trial at the Old 
Bailey before Mr. Justice Hawkins on September igth. 

Alice Rhodes had on July 28th given birth in Maid- 
stone Gaol to a boy who was registered as the son of Louis 

Sir John Holker (Attorney-General), Sir Hardinge Giffard 
(Solicitor-General), and Mr. Poland conducted the prosecu- 
tion ; Montagu Williams and Charles Mathews appeared for 
Louis Staunton ; I defended Patrick Staunton. Douglas 
Straight and H. F. Purcell were for Mrs. Patrick, and Percy 
Gye had what was believed to be by far the easier task 
of defending Alice Rhodes. We were all members of the 
junior Bar, and were all instructed by Lewis and Lewis. 

Our briefs were delivered in July, as it was expected that 
the trial would come on at the August session, and we had 
a full consultation together, and it was agreed that the 
medical part of the case should be left entirely to me, an 
arrangement which was loyally adhered to by my colleagues 
throughout the trial. I gave up the greater part of my 
intended holiday to working hard at the study of works 
upon tuberculosis, and upon the post-mortem appearances 
which would be expected where death had taken place from 
starvation. At the trial I had unexpected and very valu- 
able help. At the house of my old friend and early client, 
Mr. George Marsden, the Vestry Clerk of Camberwell, I had 
met Dr. J. S. Bristowe, a very distinguished physician who 
was at that time Senior Physician to St. Thomas's Hospital 
and Examiner to the College of Surgeons. He wrote me a 
private letter expressing a strong opinion that the post- 
mortem appearances described by those who had made the 
examination indicated that death had been caused by 

1877] SIR JOHN HOLKER 127 

tubercular disease and not by starvation. Then he came 
to see me in consultation ; assisted me by his suggestions 
as to my cross-examination of the witnesses for the prose- 
cution ; and finally came into the witness-box, and concurred 
with Dr. Payne, a very distinguished pathologist, in giving 
evidence which, although it was practically ignored by the 
Judge, had a great effect on the mind of the medical pro- 
fession, and was the chief cause of the remarkable protest 
which subsequently caused the setting aside of the death 

My pleasantest memory of this terrible case connects 
with the Attorney-General. Sir John Holker was a powerful 
advocate, and one of the kindest and most generous of men. 
Tall and massive in person, slow and deliberate in move- 
ment and in speech, there was a stately simplicity in his 
manner and his diction which was far more effective than 
the dramatic gesture and ornate rhetoric of some of his 
contemporaries. His phrases, spoken in a full richly-toned 
voice, were made more musical by the slight northern accent 
which broadened all the vowel sounds. But his great 
strength as an advocate lay in his instinctive and conspicuous 
fairness to his opponents. This inspired such confidence in 
him in judges and in juries that in his day he was almost 
irresistible on the Northern Circuit. His death in 1882, 
at the early age of fifty-four, when he had only just been 
made a Lord Justice, was a heavy loss to the country. 

I last saw him early in that year on the sea-front at 
Brighton. He was in a bath-chair, and his beautiful and 
devoted wife was walking by his side. She gave up her 
place to me for a while. It was a lovely spring day, and I 
expressed a hope that he was enjoying the sunshine. " Ah, 
my dear Clarke," said he, "a dying man does not enjoy 

In the Penge case, and the Detective case which so soon 
followed it, Sir John Holker gave to the group of younger 
men who appeared for the defence a splendid example of 
how a prosecution should be conducted, and I hope the 
lesson was not lost on any of us, especially on me who came, 


nine years later, to the responsibilities of a Law Officer of 
the Crown. 

Apart from questions of medical science the most import- 
ant evidence in the case was given by Clara Brown, who 
described the treatment and condition of Harriet Staunton 
while she was at Cudham. Before the coroner Clara Brown 
swore that she went about the house and out of the house 
quite freely ; that she was clean and always well fed and 
clothed ; that she knew her husband was living a little 
way off with Alice Rhodes, who passed as his wife ; and 
that she was in good health until a few days before she was 
taken to Penge. This account had been corroborated by 
the Stauntons and Alice Rhodes in their depositions. At 
the trial Clara Brown made a very different statement. 
She said that her previous story was wholly untrue and had 
been dictated by the prisoners ; and she now gave a terrible 
account of neglect, cruelty, and starvation. The putting 
in of the prisoners' depositions before the coroner told 
heavily against them. 

On Saturday, the fourth day of the trial, the evidence 
for the prosecution was closed, and I went down to Brighton 
for a little fresh air, and to finish the preparation of my 
speech. They had been very trying days. The evident 
bias of the Judge, and his persistent unfairness, were in 
striking contrast to the moderation and scrupulous fairness 
of the Attorney-General, and made the very difficult task 
of the counsel for the defence almost hopeless. With any 
judge and any jury the conviction of three of the prisoners 
for manslaughter, if not for the graver crime of murder, 
was quite inevitable, and the special duty of the Judge was 
to take care that the case against Alice Rhodes was separately 
considered, and that the medical evidence, upon which 
the doubt arose whether the graver crime had been in fact 
committed, should be carefully examined. Neither of these 
duties was discharged ; they were not even attempted. 

I hope I may be forgiven for quoting the peroration of my 
speech. Forty years have passed since it was spoken, 
and I believe I can now judge it with the impartial detach- 

1877] A PERORATION 129 

ment of old age. I think that in its personal appeal to the 
hearers, which covers an argument that is maintained to 
the very last sentence, it more nearly realised my ideal of 
what a peroration should be than did the closing passage 
of any other speech I ever made. 

Now, gentlemen, I believe that I have almost finished the 
observations that I have to make to you. I urge upon you 
that there is no evidence which would justify you in bringing 
a verdict of guilty of murder against the man for whom I 
appear in this case. And I do urge upon you most seriously, 
in asking for your anxious consideration, that there is no 
evidence that he is guilty of the crime of manslaughter. I 
am anxious to urge this upon you, for I beg you not to look 
upon it as if manslaughter were a crime involved or neces- 
sarily to be decided by the other. When you have dis- 
missed, as I hope you will dismiss, the charge of murder 
against him, it is for you then carefully to consider whether 
there is evidence against him of this negligence, and care- 
lessness, and recklessness, as to which my lord will direct 
you. I have no desire to anticipate a phrase which would 
entitle you to find a verdict of manslaughter. Is not there 
only the mistake the honest mistake of which I have 
spoken, the mistake for which he has suffered the most 
terrible punishment, to be for months in gaol awaiting his 
trial for life, to know that while he lay in one cell of that 
gaol, in another cell of that shameful birthplace his wife is 
bringing forth the child of their love ; to have to give up 
everything that he possesses to supply the means of facing 
a criminal trial like this ; to sit I was about to forget the 
worst of all to have to sit for five or six days listening to 
these discussions going on, and, I fear very much, thinking 
now and then how much was being left unsaid that should 
be said for him, how much was being left unasked that 
might have brought an answer in his favour ? 

All this would have been to him an insupportable agony, 
it would have constituted to me in this trial a responsibility 
almost too great to bear, if he, and I as his advocate, had 
not been sustained by the knowledge of the way in which 
a jury deals with a question of life and death. Gentlemen, 
in a case of this kind, would you venture as Christian men 
to pronounce a verdict of guilty unless you were satisfied 
beyond reasonable doubt, by evidence which was accurate, 



[CHAP, xin 

and clear, and trustworthy, and satisfied you to the hilt of 
the matters which were alleged, and with which you were 
asked to deal ? Will you venture to rely thoroughly upon 
the controverted conclusions of the doctors who have dealt 
with the medical evidence, or upon the shameless evidence 
of that girl who came into the witness-box admitting herself 
a perjurer before the coroner, and proclaiming herself in 
this court to be the accomplice in the crime she denounces ? 
Gentlemen, human justice is depicted as blind. It is not 
given to human justice to see and to know, as the great 
Eternal knows, the thoughts and feelings and actions of 
all men. She has to depend on what she hears. She must 
depend on recollection. She must depend on testimony. 
She must depend on inferences. How should she deal with 
the irrevocable issues of life and death unless those recol- 
lections are exact, that testimony trustworthy, those in- 
ferences uncontradicted ? How should she lift the sword to 
strike and you, gentlemen, guide her hand to-day while 
at the moment that the accusing voice is in her ear de- 
nouncing the crime the echo of that very voice is heard 
proclaiming that the prisoners are innocent, and when 
passionless science steps to her side to warn her that there 
may have been in truth no crime committed ? 

No one who spent the long hours of Wednesday, Sep- 
tember 26th, 1877, in the Central Criminal Court could ever 
forget that day. Public feeling had been greatly excited 
by the reports of the trial, and long before the Court sat a 
restless crowd was moving up and down the Old Bailey. 
When at half-past ten the Judge took his seat every corner 
of the Court was filled, and well-dressed women, favoured 
occupants of the choicest seats, stared through lorgnettes 
and opera-glasses at the four pale and weary creatures 
who came to their places in the dock. Then began the 
strangest summing-up that was ever heard in a criminal 
case. Speaking in a gentle, clear, beautifully modulated 
voice, the Judge set himself to recapitulate all the facts, 
however trivial and unimportant, which had been related 
in the evidence of the last four days. As an exhibition of 
tenacious and exact memory it was wonderful. The narra- 
tive was complete and perfectly arranged. But of the 

1877] THE SUMMING-UP 131 

judicial fairness which should characterise a summing-up, 
especially in so grave a case as this, there was not the 
slightest trace ; there was constant emphasis upon the 
facts which told against the prisoners, and every point 
which had been made in their favour was answered, or 
turned aside as being of no importance. 

All the morning the stream of fact and comment went 
slowly on, and when the luncheon hour came three hours 
had only brought the narrative to the date when Harriet 
Staunton, six months before her death, paid her last visit 
to her solicitor in London. 

The worst instance of the Judge's unfairness was to come 
later in the way he dealt with the medical evidence. That 
raised the gravest issue in the case, and almost one-half of 
the time spent by the Attorney-General in his reply in dis- 
cussion of the facts was devoted to its consideration. During 
the half-hour allowed for lunch Montagu Williams came to 
me and said : " Hawkins wants to know if you wish him to 
deal with the medical evidence, and says that if he does he 
will have to make some serious observations which will not 
help you." I said : " That is not a question for me to 
answer : I have done my duty : the responsibility for the 
summing-up is with the Judge, not with me." Sir Henry 
scarcely dealt with that evidence at all : of the forty-two 
pages which are occupied by the summing-up in the full 
report of the trial less than a single page is given to the 
medical question on which so much important evidence had 
been produced. 

The day dragged on. The afternoon sun looked in through 
the large west window above the jury-box, and made the 
closely shut court more stuffy, and the listeners more drowsy, 
as hour by hour the monotonous murmur of the untiring 
voice went on. Sunshine had gone when four more hours 
had only brought the story to the arrival at Penge, and the 
conflict of medical opinion had not been touched when the 
Judge suggested a short adjournment, and the jury were 
allowed a quarter of an hour's respite. Then, soon after 
six o'clock the murmur began again, and for three hours 


and a half no other sound was heard. At last came the 
finish, and the jury, tired and almost dazed, wearily went out 
to their deliberation. Theirs was a task which should have 
been performed when the memory and judgement were clear 
and active ; when the mind was fully capable of drawing 
the conclusions and distinctions on which the verdict 
depended. I thought then, and I think now, writing forty 
years later, that only a wicked judge would have sent out 
a jury at nearly ten o'clock at night, exhausted by sitting 
in one place for nearly eleven hours listening to a single 
voice, to consider a verdict involving the lives of four 
human beings, whose cases required separate consideration, 
and against whom popular feeling had been so strongly 
excited and expressed that only the greatest care could 
secure for them a calm and considerate judgment ; and, in 
the case of Alice Rhodes, without the least attempt to warn 
them that the evidence against her, as Sir James Stephen 
had pointed out in charging the grand jury, upon whose 
finding of a true bill the prisoners were being arraigned, 
was of the slightest possible kind. 

The jury were out for an hour and a half. It was a strange 
and terrible sight when we went back into the court. Its 
sides and corners and roof were deep in shadow ; the in- 
sufficient gas-light, feebly helped by candles which flared 
and guttered here and there, only faintly lighted the front 
row of the counsel, and the faces of the four prisoners, and 
the jurymen coming back to their seats. 

" Gentlemen of the jury, have you agreed upon your 
verdict?" "We have." 

" Do you find the prisoner Louis Adolphus Edmund 
Staunton guilty of the murder of which he stands indicted, 
or not guilty ? "" Guilty/' 

All eyes are turned at once towards the dock. Ever since 
two o'clock that afternoon a doctor had sat at Louis 
Staunton' s elbow ; the strange grey ashen colour of the 
prisoner's face seemed to threaten a collapse. Now the face 
may be a shade whiter, the hands grip the front of the dock 
but that is all. 


" Do you find the prisoner Patrick Llewellyn Staunton 
guilty of the murder of which he stands indicted, or not 
guilty ? " " Guilty." 

As the word is spoken Mrs . Patrick catches at her hus- 
band's hand. In a strange broken voice, half scream and 
half a gasp, she cries out : "We can bear it, for we know 
it is not true." I think she scarcely heard the question 
about herself or the answer, Guilty. 

" Do you find the prisoner Alice Rhodes guilty of the 
murder of which she stands indicted, or not guilty ? " 

There is a slight shiver in the court, a little sob of com- 
passion as the girl falls back fainting into her chair. 

" The jury recommend both female prisoners to mercy, 
and we strongly recommend Alice Rhodes." 

Then in pitiless tones the Judge pronounces the sentence 
of death. He tells them that they plotted together to 
commit a crime so black and hideous that he believes in all 
the records of crime it would be difficult to find its parallel. 
Then he puts the finishing touch to the iniquity of his own 
behaviour by telling them that he is satisfied (although no 
evidence had been given) that they contemplated and 
brought about the death of Harriet Staunton' s infant child. 

As he spoke we could hear the exultant shouts of the 
crowd which, although it was nearing midnight, still waited 
in the neighbouring streets. 

The misconduct of the Judge saved the prisoners' lives. 
The indignant protests of Charles Reade and Clement Scott 
might not have availed, but when The Lancet made a strong 
appeal to the medical profession, and four hundred doctors, 
with Sir William Jenner at their head, signed a declaration 
that they were convinced that the morbid appearances 
observed in the post-mortem examination of Harriet 
Staunton' s body were such as to indicate death from cerebral 
disease, and that the symptoms recorded during life, and 
especially those immediately preceding death, were not 
symptoms of starvation but were the usual and charac- 
teristic symptoms of certain forms of disease of the 


brain, it became clear that the death penalty could not 
be inflicted, and on October I4th the prisoners were 

A little later Alice Rhodes was set free, and the sentence 
on the others was commuted to penal servitude for life. 
I may as well complete the story. Patrick Staunton died in 
prison not long after his conviction. His wife was released 
after a few years, and in another name found an occupation 
in which she made herself a prosperous position. In 1897 a 
relative of Louis Staunton called to see me and said that he 
was about to be released, and asked if I would do anything 
to help him in earning a living. I said I should like to see 
him, and presently there came to my chambers a middle- 
aged man, with subdued voice and gentle manner, whom of 
course I could not recognise. I had a long interview with 
him, for I was curious to know what sort of impression 
twenty years of penal servitude would leave upon a man. 
Upon him it seemed to have left no impression at all. He 
never once spoke of it as having involved suffering, and 
there was only one incident in the whole of the twenty 
years which seemed to have fixed itself in his mind as a 
subject of painful recollection. He told me that when he 
was at Portland, rather early in the time, he one day passed 
in front of the Governor when he was speaking to some one. 
The Governor caught him by the shoulder and flung him 
down, and in falling he struck his head against a table and 
cut it rather badly. He said he resolved to complain of 
the Governor, but was advised not to do so, and that he 
followed the advice and was glad afterwards that he acted 
upon it. So far as I could gather this was the only event 
in the whole twenty years which had left on his mind the 
remembrance of hardship or suffering. I found he wanted 
to be employed in his relative's business, and I said I would 
either give him 2 a week for two years, which I thought 
the best way to secure him from want, or I would give him 
100 at once which he could put in the business he proposed 
to join. 

The 100 was about the same as the amount of the 


fees I had received in the case, which had brought me great 
rewards. He chose the capital sum, joined his relative, 
and worked in that business for two or three years. When 
I last saw him, about seven years later, he was married 
and had a child, and was in business for himself in the name 
he had assumed when he left the gaol, and he was doing well. 

Sir Henry Hawkins continued his career of public dis- 
service. There were other cases, notably the Hansard 
Union case, the Portsea Island Building Society case, and 
the Salisbury Baby case, in which his worst characteristics 
were shown, and when he retired in 1898 I wrote to Sir 
Richard Webster, the Attorney-General, to say that if it 
were proposed to follow in his case the very mischievous 
practice which had then sprung up of having a public leave- 
taking at which the Attorney-General made a complimentary 
speech attributing all sorts of virtue to the retiring judge, 
I should make a public protest. 

The protest did not become necessary, for Sir Henry 
went one afternoon to the Middle Temple Hall, and there 
took leave of his friends. 



ON the day that Harriet Staunton died at Penge and Louis 
made his disastrous mention of Cudham at the local post- 
office, Baron Huddleston at the Old Bailey began the trial 
of the actors in what was known as the Great Turf Fraud. 
In the latter part of 1876 a group of swindlers, all well 
known to the police, had carried out a singular^ elaborate 
and daring scheme of plunder. They sent by post to 
wealthy persons in France a sham newspaper, which told 
the story of a Mr. Montgomery who had such wonderful 
knowledge and judgment in racing matters that the book- 
makers, who had already lost to him half a million of money, 
would not take his bets, and so compelled him to speculate 
by indirect methods. He asked his foreign friends to help 
him by sending to certain bookmakers whom he would 
name cheques which he would provide, for bets on the horses 
he wished to back. There would be no risk whatever, and 
those who were good enough to do him this service should 
have 10 per cent, of his winnings. They could also back 
these horses on their own account, thus having the advantage 
of his advice. 

The conspirators, under various aliases, took rooms in 
different postal districts in the West End of London and 
played the part of the bookmakers with whom the bets were 
to be made. A thousand cheques were printed and stamped 
bearing the name of a non-existent bank, and were sent 
out to the would-be investors, and by them forwarded to 

1 A fuller account of this case appeared in The Cornhill Magazine for 
August 1915. 



the sham bookmakers. The bait took. So many persons 
were anxious to secure the whole profit instead of only 
10 per cent, that, with the sham cheques which they them- 
selves provided, the swindlers received real cheques for 
bets on the selected horses, and in the course of a single 
month they had netted about 15,000. 

The fraud was soon discovered, and on September 25th a 
solicitor named Abrahams, who practised in London and 
Paris, went to Scotland Yard, where the case was put into 
the hands of the Chief Inspector Druscovich, one of the 
ablest and most trusted members of the detective force, 
who had been in the service sixteen years, and had earned 
rapid promotion and several special rewards. 

The ingenuity of the scheme was remarkable, but still 
more remarkable was the fact that although the men con- 
cerned and their residences and their haunts were quite 
well known to the police it was not until December that 
any arrest was made. During the interval the swindlers 
travelled about England and Scotland, making hardly any 
attempt at concealment, and spending freely the money 
that had come to their hands. Eventually in April 1877 
they were convicted before Baron Huddleston, and were 
sentenced to long terms of penal servitude. 

Evidence given at the trial showed quite clearly that 
they must have been assisted by the police officers who 
had been employed to arrest them, and soon after their 
conviction the conspirators made statements which in- 
volved four of the most important members of the Scotland 
Yard detective force. They alleged that Druscovich had 
from time to time given them information as to the com- 
plaints which were made, and the numbers of the bank 
notes which were stopped, and had actually met one of 
them by appointment in Edinburgh on November loth, 
and had arranged to delay his journey to the place where 
they had been staying, so as to enable them to get clear 
away. They said that another trusted detective named 
Meiklejohn had been in their pay for several years, and 
had given them information as to complaints, had warned 


them when it was decided to apply for warrants, had some- 
times succeeded in stopping inconvenient inquiries, and 
had during the very ineffectual pursuit of this autumn 
advised them as to the best means of avoiding capture. 
They also alleged that George Clarke was an accomplice, 
and had been well paid for his services. This last accusation 
was for a time absolutely disbelieved. Clarke was the 
senior officer of the detective force at Scotland Yard, and 
when Superintendent Williamson was away he took charge 
of the office. He had been in the police force thirty- seven 
years, and since 1869 had been much engaged in suppressing 
offences against the betting laws, and had shown great 
energy, industry, and skill, in procuring the conviction of 
many persons for such offences. But the statements were 
so definite, and in some important respects were so strongly 
confirmed, that eventually Clarke was included in the charge 
of conspiracy to defeat the ends of justice. After many 
hearings at Bow Street, Clarke, Druscovich, Meiklejohn, 
and another well-trusted inspector named Palmer, together 
with Edward Froggatt, a London solicitor, were committed 
for trial. 

My speech in the Penge case was then attracting a good 
deal of attention. Clarke came to me with an introduction 
from Mr. George Lewis, assured me that he was innocent, 
and begged me to defend him, and in consideration of his 
slender means to accept a small fee and very small refreshers. 
I believed him and sympathised with him, and agreed to a 
refresher of five guineas a day, half the amount which had 
been paid me in the Staunton case. 

The trial, which began at the Old Bailey on October 24th, 
1877, was the longest which has ever taken place in that 
Court. There were several Jews on the jury, and at their 
request the Judge agreed not to sit on Saturdays. Twenty 
full days were occupied by the trial ; eighty-seven witnesses 
were examined for the prosecution ; one day was filled by 
the Attorney-General's opening, and nearly two days by 
his reply. 

Sir John Holker's opening completely explained the 

1877] HARRY BENSON 139 

strange delay which had taken place in bringing to justice 
the contrivers of the Great Turf Fraud. The concocters and 
chief actors in that fraud were two young men named 
Harry Benson and William Kurr. Benson was an English- 
man, born in Paris, where his father was in business. ID 
1871 he had attempted a fraud on the French Relief Com- 
mittee at the Mansion House by representing himself as a 
French Marquis from a town in France which had been 
burnt by the Germans, and whose inhabitants were in the 
greatest distress. For this he had been sentenced to twelve 
months' imprisonment. He spent this period in the prison 
infirmary, for while awaiting trial he had tried to commit 
suicide by setting on fire the bed on which he was lying, and 
although his life was saved his legs were so severely burnt 
that he was ever afterwards a hopeless cripple. In 1874 
he was in lodgings at Dalston when he became acquainted 
with William Kurr, and thenceforward he was the contriver 
and Kurr was the chief actor in the schemes of fraud. With 
money obtained by one successful adventure Benson went 
in January 1875 to the Isle of Wight, and there in the name 
of Yonge, which he had adopted on leaving prison, he took 
a pleasant house at Shanklin called Rosebank. An elderly 
widow, Mrs. Avis, with whom he had lodged at Dalston, 
came there to be his housekeeper. He had, besides two 
female servants, a coachman, a footman, and a French valet, 
he kept two carriages ; and he let it be understood that 
he was really a French nobleman, even of princely rank, 
and on terms of friendship with the Empress of Austria. 
Vivacious, intelligent, and well educated, an accomplished 
musician, himself a composer, he was soon accepted as a 
pleasant associate by some of the good society of the Isle 
of W T ight, and the occasional accidental dropping of a hand- 
kerchief with an embroidered coronet and the letter " M," 
which was supposed to stand for Murat, gave a touch of 
interesting mystery to the acquaintance. 

The purchase of a controlling interest in a local news- 
paper was useful in establishing his position. William 
Kurr when he made Benson's acquaintance was only twenty- 


three years of age. As a boy of fourteen he had been a 
clerk in the office of the South Eastern Railway, but a year 
in that employment tired him of respectability, and he 
became a betting tout and clerk to fraudulent bookmakers 
and money lenders, and according to his own account given 
at this trial he lived from the year 1871 onwards by plunder- 
ing and swindling the public. He kept, and carefully 
docketed, and placed in safe places of deposit, all the letters 
and telegrams which he at any time received from his 
accomplices in the police force, and which, useful as they 
had been in maintaining his hold upon them, were now used 
to obtain his own release from the penal servitude to which 
he had been sentenced. Their production, and the inde- 
pendent confirmatory evidence which was now forthcoming, 
made any effective defence of Druscovich, Meiklejohn, 
Palmer, and Froggatt quite impossible. Bank-notes which 
were unquestionably the proceeds of the fraud were traced 
to the possession of Druscovich and Meiklejohn ; an im- 
portant letter and telegram which warned Benson of pursuit 
were in the handwriting of Palmer ; a forged telegram which 
nearly produced the release of the fugitives when they had 
been arrested at Rotterdam was in the handwriting of 
Froggatt, and although my colleagues did valiantly all that 
could be done for their clients, the only chance of escaping 
the conviction of either of these four prisoners lay in the 
possibility that one or two members of the jury, who of 
course went to their homes every night, might be corrupted 
and induced to refuse to agree to a verdict of guilty. The 
authorities were somewhat uneasy about this, and upon some 
jurymen who lived in the East of London a careful watch 
was kept. 

In Clarke's case there was room for doubt, and my task 
in defending him was very interesting, but not very easy. 
He had been three times to see Benson at Shanklin in 1875 ; 
once with the knowledge of Superintendent Williamson and 
upon an innocent errand. The two later visits were paid 
without the knowledge of his superiors, and were not re- 
ported at the office. Benson said that on the second visit 

1877] THE BRIBES 141 

he had paid Clarke 50 in gold. Kurr said that on Sep- 
tember 25th, 1876, when information of the fraud came to 
Scotland Yard, Clarke saw him and asked if the French 
notes had been changed. 

This precaution had been taken, and it was not until 
three days later that the English bank-notes for which they 
had been exchanged were stopped at the bank, and warrants 
issued for the arrest of the criminals. 

Even then the warrants were taken out, not in their 
real and well-known names, but in the fictitious names 
which they had assumed for the purposes of the fraud. 
Kurr said that a week later he gave Clarke 150 in gold, 
and gave Meiklejohn a cigar box with 200 in gold in it to 
give to Druscovich. 

Meiklejohn was paid 500 three weeks afterwards, and so 
safe did the conspirators think themselves that he took it 
in five 100 notes of the Clydesdale Bank, which Benson, by 
a very bold trick, had obtained in exchange for the English 
notes which had been stopped. 

If the evidence of Benson and Kurr were accepted the 
proof of guilt was, of course, complete ; and the great 
strength of that evidence, as Sir John Holker pointed out, 
lay in the fact that their statements to the Treasury Solicitor, 
afterwards repeated in the witness box, were given separ- 
ately, without any opportunity of communication, or of 
either of them learning what the other had said, were in 
complete agreement, and that m the long and detailed 
narrative, full of details and of dates, scarcely any incon- 
sistencies could be detected. 

Again it seemed scarcely possible that during three 
months, while Meiklejohn and Druscovich and Palmer 
were doing their parts in a conspiracy to prevent the arrest 
of Benson and Kurr, the chief inspector at Scotland Yard, 
who had himself twice been to the Isle of Wight to see 
Benson, and knew that he was in some way associated 
with betting frauds, should have failed to suspect that his 
immediate subordinates were responsible for the strange 
delays which were hindering the course of justice. 


The evidence of the convicted criminals again had some 
important corrobo ration. 

A man who had been in Benson's service as valet from 
June to Christmas in 1875 said that besides seeing Inspector 
Clarke upon his two visits to Shanklin he saw him visit 
Benson at the Westminster Palace Hotel and the Langham 
Hotel ; and that on another occasion he went with Benson 
to Clarke's house, and that Clarke came out and was talking 
to Benson for twenty minutes. This confirmed statements 
made by Kurr and Benson. 

A cabdriver was called and said that in the autumn of 
1876 he drove Kurr from his house in Marquess Road, 
Canonbury, to the corner of Great College Street, West- 
minster (where Clarke lived), set him down there, and waited 
for him about half an hour ; and that about a fortnight 
later he again drove him to the same place, waited for him 
half an hour or three-quarters of an hour, and then drove 
him back to the Marquess Road. This was the visit at 
which Kurr stated that he gave Clarke 150 in gold. 

But the most difficult evidence to deal with was that 
which related to Clarke's correspondence with Benson, 

Mr. H. R. Clarke, the principal of the Shanklin College, 
Isle of Wight, gave a curious little bit of evidence. He was 
the owner of Rosebank, which he had let to Benson. In 
August 1876 at Benson's request he went to the house and 
took possession of all the letters he found there. From 
these he, according to Benson's instructions, selected the 
letters and telegrams sent by Clarke, and put them in a 
packet, and sent them by post to 324, Essex Road, Islington. 
But he made a mistake in the name, and addressed them to 
" Watson " instead of " Hawkins." They were returned 
to the Dead Letter Office, and remained there until after 
Benson had been convicted, and had given information to 
the Treasury Solicitor. All the other letters at Rosebank 
were destroyed. 

These letters now produced were dated April igth and 
26th and June i6th and i8th, 1875. No official note 
had been made of their dispatch. There was nothing 

1877] MRS. AVIS 143 

actually compromising in their contents, but they referred 
to letters which had been received from Benson and which 
Clarke had not reported or preserved. 

The evidence of the next witness appeared to make the 
case complete. 

Mrs. Avis was a respectable woman about sixty years of 
age, with whom Benson had lodged in 1873 and 1874 and 
who was housekeeper at Rosebank in 1875. Benson in 
his evidence had said, " I got Mrs. Avis to copy my letters 
to Clarke, or some of them, because I did not wish that any 
of my handwriting should fall into his hands. Some of the 
letters she copied were written between April I3th and 
July 5th, 1875. I was last at Shanklin on June 27th, 1876." 

Mrs. Avis now said that of the last four letters she thus 
copied she kept the drafts, and that she posted some of the 
copies herself to the address which Benson gave her, " George 
Clarke, Esq., 20, Great College Street, Westminster." When 
she left Rosebank these four drafts were the only ones she 
took with her, and they remained in her hands until she 
gave them to the Treasury Solicitor in May 1877, after 
Benson and his accomplices had been convicted. 

The drafts now produced were all in Benson's hand- 
writing, and the dates of two of them, June I5th and I7th, 
corresponded with Clarke's letters of June i6th and i8th 
which had been rescued from the Dead Letter Office. 

The importance of this evidence could not be denied. 
In each letter Benson referred to his " debt " to Clarke and 
his desire to pay it, speaking of it on one occasion as a debt 
due to Mrs. Clarke. 

The first letter asked Clarke to come to Shanklin, and the 
postscript said, " If you do not like to write, merely let me 
know what time I may expect you, as it is urgent I should 
see you before Saturday." An undated draft contained a 
still more compromising sentence. "It is quite possible 
that in a day or two I shall have to come to London, and 
I hope you will appoint a place where to see you, unknown 
to any one. I shall then have pleasure in acquitting myself 
of the balance due to you. Please return this letter to me." 


There was another portion of the evidence which bore 
heavily against my client. In the correspondence between 
the confederates, especially between Kurr and Meiklejohn, 
Inspector Clarke was frequently mentioned as " C," "the 
Chieftain," " the Old Man/' and " the Old Man of the Duke 
of York's Column." No statement in that correspondence 
directly implicated Clarke, nor would it have been evidence 
against him if it had, but it was clear that, rightly or wrongly, 
the conspirators believed that they had nothing to fear 
from the Chief Inspector of the Detective Police. 

It will be realised that my task in defending my client 
was a very difficult one. It would, indeed, in my opinion, 
have been practically impossible to obtain an acquittal 
if at that time the law had permitted accused persons to 
be called as witnesses. The strange rule which then pre- 
vailed by which neither a prisoner nor his wife was a com- 
petent witness, a rule which was the worst example of judge- 
made law which I have ever known, often operated cruelly 
against an innocent person, but in nine cases out of ten it 
was of advantage to the guilty. The change in the law 
which has very properly been made has seriously reduced 
the opportunities of the advocate. A brilliant speech 
before the prisoner is called is dangerous ; when the prisoner 
has been called it is often impossible. 

My cross-examination in the Detective case was careful 
but by no means long. It is a very useful general rule that 
you should not cross-examine when you cannot contradict. 
By provoking a repetition of the story you fix it on the 
minds of the jury, and you run the risk of the mention of 
some fresh detail which may be a strong, perhaps a con- 
clusive, evidence of its truth. 

So I cross-examined William Kurr and Mrs. Avis very 
briefly, although even then one incautious question to Mrs. 
Avis did me some mischief. 

Harry Benson required special treatment. My chief 
object was to show him at his best ; as the polished and 
educated man who was capable of deceiving and outwitting 
even a trained inspector of police. He looked little like 


that when my turn came to cross-examine him. He was 
ill ; it was the afternoon of his third day in the witness- 
box ; and all that morning he had been cross-examined with 
just severity, but with some roughness, by Montagu Williams. 

As he sat in the chair put for him in the witness-box, 
in the ugly convict's clothes, hair cropped, face worn with 
illness and fatigue, he was a pitiful object. My first words 
brought a change. " Now, Mr. Benson, I have a few 
questions to ask you." It was the first time for months 
that he had been spoken to in any tone of courtesy. His 
face lit up, he rose to his feet, bowed in acknowledgment, 
and stood with an air of deference, waiting to reply. Then 
I asked him about his education, his musical accomplish- 
ments, his friends in society at the Isle of Wight, and the 
appointments of his pleasant home at Shanklin ; and before 
the friendly conversation had lasted ten minutes, I felt that 
my object had been attained. 

The refinement and even distinction of manner, which 
had imposed upon Sir Thomas Dakin and Mr. Alfred Roth- 
schild, again became perceptible, and while it did not influence 
the jury to believe his evidence, it made them think it 
possible that even Inspector Clarke might have been deceived. 

There was another witness who needed very careful cross- 
examination. Superintendent Williamson was called to pro- 
duce reports which had from time to time been made by the 
accused officers, and to prove the handwriting of some of 
the documents. He also produced an envelope addressed 
to Giffard, Bridge of Allan, in Kurr's handwriting, which 
had been posted in London on November loth, and con- 
tained a piece of blotting-paper with the printed char- 
acters which it was alleged Clarke had sent. 

Now Mr. Williamson had been associated with Inspector 
Clarke in the detective work at Scotland Yard for many 
years ; had found him a most valuable assistant ; had 
treated him with entire confidence ; and, until the occurrence 
of the strange difficulties and delays in the arrest of Benson 
and Kurr, had never seen cause to doubt his fidelity. I was 
informed that he still had some friendly feeling towards his 


old colleague, and that he would not be sorry if his evidence 
were to assist me in my defence. But he was a man of 
the strictest honour, and every question would certainly 
be truly answered, whatever the effect of the answer might 
be. My task therefore was so to frame my questions that 
each should bring a reply in my client's favour, without 
provoking any qualifying phrase which would indicate the 
opinion of the witness on the case actually before the jury. 
On that task I spent many hours. I prepared questions 
and answers as if I were studying a chess problem, seeing 
how far it would be possible to follow up and emphasise 
with safety the favourable answers which I knew some of 
my questions must receive. My labour was well rewarded, 
and Superintendent Williamson's evidence did much to 
help me to success. 

The first week of the trial the opening speech of Sir 
John Holker and the evidence of Kurr and Benson was 
very interesting. The second and third weeks, with the 
long procession of witnesses to prove the details of the story, 
were very dull, and then came the final speeches. 

My speech for Clarke was the most elaborately prepared 
of all my forensic speeches. I had three weeks for its pre- 
paration, and plenty of time for drafting it while unimport- 
ant witnesses were being examined. 

I have no room for quotation, and the speech if read at all 
should be read as a whole. Then the purpose of its arrange- 
ment will be seen. My scheme was to throw all my strength 
into an exordium which might make the jury feel that such 
an accusation made against a man of stainless reputation 
and long-continued public service was really incredible. 
Then, when I came to deal, discreetly and not in too great 
detail, with the serious evidence against him, each of the 
twelve minds which it was my duty to influence would be pre- 
disposed, and even eager, to reject or explain away, or wholly 
to ignore, facts which were inconsistent with the conclusion 
at which it had already, if unconsciously, arrived. The 
peroration was intended to sweep away any lingering doubts 
by the confidence of its rhetorical appeal for an acquittal. 


By far the larger part of the Attorney-General's reply was 
devoted to the case against Clarke. While he was speaking 
Sir Hardinge Giffard came in and sat beside me. Presently 
he said to me, " He is putting in some pretty heavy shot." 
' Yes," said I, "he is, but I think I have made a Plevna of 
my own." Europe was then ringing with the story of the 
magnificent defence which has been a warning to the world 
ever since of the formidable fighting power of the Turk. 

My illustration was accurate. After the trial I was told 
by one of the jury, either Mr. Wertheimer, the foreman, or 
Mr. Godfrey Pearse, that at the end of my speech the jury 
practically agreed that Clarke must be acquitted, and did 
not pay very great attention to Sir John Holker's subse- 
quent examination of the evidence. There was a model 
summing up by the Judge, clear, complete, but not over- 
elaborate, and quite impartial, and then, after fifty minutes' 
consideration, which, I believe, was entirely concerned with 
the question which, if any, of the prisoners should be re- 
commended to mercy, they gave their verdict of " Guilty " 
against Meiklejohn, Druscovich, Palmer, and Froggatt, and, 
amid cheering in the Court and in the street, found Clarke 
" Not Guilty." 

Druscovich and Palmer were recommended to mercy; 
but Baron Pollock said that the highest sentence he had 
power to pass was quite inadequate as punishment for so 
grave an offence, and sentenced them all to two years' 
imprisonment with hard labour. 

Inspector Clarke was at once retired from the detective 
service upon a substantial pension. 

The convicts who had given evidence were soon after- 
wards released, and I know nothing of their subsequent 
history, except that Benson was some years later convicted 
of fraud in New York, and imprisoned in the Sing Sing gaol. 
One day he flung himself over the balustrade of the well 
staircase of the prison, and was killed by the fall. 

Palmer was more sinned against than sinning. He knew 
nothing of Kurr or Benson, and had received no bribe from 
any one. He had been persuaded by some one more astute 


than himself to write the telegram and letter whose pro- 
duction convicted him, and in loyalty to his fellow prisoners 
he kept silence. After his term of imprisonment had ex- 
pired he was allowed by the Surrey magistrates, partly at 
my instance, to become the holder of a public-house licence, 
and I believe did well. 

SOUTHWARK: 1877-1880 

THE two cases which I have just described were valuable 
to me in many ways. The actual fees which I received were 
not large ; in the Penge case, which lasted for seven days, I 
had forty guineas on my brief and ten guineas a day re- 
fresher ; in the detective case, which lasted twenty days, 
my total fees were under two hundred guineas. But the 
opportunity came to me at the stage of my professional 
career when it was most valuable, and when I was at the 
age when my powers, such as they were, had reached their 
full strength ; and I was able to make two speeches which 
I place among the six forensic speeches by which I hope 
to be remembered. 

The immediate effects were very pleasant. A chorus of 
eulogy in the press made my name very widely known ; 
my income rose at once from 3,000 to 5,000, and con- 
tinued to progress from that higher level. I had come to 
the front rank in my profession, and now I determined to 
go forward with all my energy in the work of politics. My 
candidature for South wark was decided upon at a meeting 
of the Conservative Association in July 1878, and it was 
formally inaugurated in 1879, in view of the approaching 
dissolution, by a banquet at the Bridge House Hotel on 
February I3th, a date which has been curiously important 
in my political history ; and from that time forward I was 
continuously at work in the borough of Southwark. 

I lectured on various subjects at parochial schoolrooms, 
joined Conservative clubs and spoke at their smoking 

150 SOUTHWARR [ctiA*. XV 

concerts ; subscribed to athletic clubs and presided at their 
dinners ; and was always seen and very often heard at 
public functions in the borough. The fact that I attended 
the Surrey Sessions at Newington, then within the parlia- 
mentary borough of Southwark, and had a large practice 
at the Licensing Sessions, amounting indeed to about 600 
a year> was of course a great advantage to me, and made me 
thoroughly familiar with the neighbourhood, and person- 
ally known to a class of men who at that time, when election 
committee rooms were almost invariably found at public- 
houses, had an even larger influence at elections than they 
at present possess. 

But with all these advantages and with all my activity 
I was not satisfied with the progress made. In those days 
the circulation of newspapers in a working-class constitu- 
ency was very small. We had no local Conservative paper. 
Outside the private rooms of a handful of large traders and 
wharfingers The Times was never seen, and the cheaper daily 
papers rarely mentioned the political affairs of a South 
London district. If they had, very few of the electors 
would have seen them. I determined to try to lessen at 
all events this disadvantage by having a weekly paper of 
our own. 

There existed an old-established paper called The Kentish 
Mercury, which was published by Messrs. Merritt and 
Hatcher at Deptford, and was edited by a very able jour- 
nalist and staunch old Tory, one James Watson. 

I went to the proprietors and suggested that they should 
publish a separate edition of The Kentish Mercury to be 
called The Southwark Mercury, which should contain in its 
two central pages nothing but Southwark news, and should 
have half a column of advertisement space which should 
be at our disposal for any political announcements we wished 
to make, and I asked on what terms they would issue such 
a paper. They said they would do this upon a subscription 
to be paid in advance at a penny per copy for two years. 
It was originally suggested that 2,000 copies should be 
delivered in parcels of 500 each at four Conservative 


clubs in different parts of the borough, but we found we 
should then be in much difficulty in distributing the paper, 
and eventually it was agreed that we should pay the sub- 
scription for the 2,000 copies, but that instead of that 
number being delivered at the clubs, 1,200 copies should be 
sent by post to addresses which we would supply. We 
had some difficulty in getting subscribers, and of the 866 
required I think I had to find 500 myself, but the money 
was well spent. 

There were in the borough some eight hundred public- 
houses, beer houses, and coffee houses, and to each of 
these a copy of the paper was sent free of charge every 

The first number appeared on January 4th, 1879, and I 
have no doubt whatever that it was in great measure owing 
to this paper that I had the triumphant success which came 
to me a year later. I was in constant communication with 
the editor as to what should appear in the columns of 
Southwark news, and the speeches I made and the lectures 
I delivered were well reported, and so I was enabled to make 
a general appeal to the constituency which would not have 
been possible in any other way. 

And every now and then a good strong well-written lead- 
ing article pointed out to the voters how great was their 
good fortune in having the opportunity of sending me to 
the House of Commons. 

All things went well with me. In strong health, with a 
loving wife and three dear children, an income rapidly 
growing far beyond my needs, and the prospect of 
political success brightening before me, I was indeed a 
happy man. 

People often speak lightly of such and such a day as 
being the happiest day of their lives. One of the very 
happiest of mine was June I4th, 1879. It was a beautiful 
summer Saturday, and before I left home in the morning I 
arranged a little excursion with my wife and children for 
the afternoon. 

At chambers I found a letter from the Attorney-General. 



Would you like to hold the office of Attorney-General's 
Devil ? If yes I will confer it upon you. Please let me 
have an answer at your earliest convenience. 
I remain, 

Yours sincerely, 


It was a very tempting offer. Bowen, who had just been 
made a judge, after seven years' tenure of this office, was 
said to have earned an income of 11,000 a year, and al- 
though mine already reached 5,500, the difference was 
not unimportant. Besides, the work of the Junior Counsel 
to the Treasury was regular and certain, and by almost 
unbroken rule it led in due time to a judgeship. But I 
went to Sir John Holker's room resolved to refuse it, and I 
told him so. He was very kind ; he pointed out the value 
of the position, reminded me of the reversionary judgeship, 
and warned me not to make a hurried decision which I 
might afterwards regret. 

I was firm, and said I was earning more than I needed for 
my ordinary wants, that I had every hope that my income 
would go on increasing, and that my ambition to sit in the 
House of Commons looked likely to be fulfilled at the next 
election. He listened ; suggested reasons for not refusing, 
and at last said, " Well, have you made up your mind ? " 

" Yes," said I ; "I thank you very much for the offer, 
and shall always be very proud of it, but I finally refuse/' 

" Then," said he, shaking my hand, " I tell you you 
are quite right. You will enjoy Parliament, and I believe 
you will have a great career." 

Then he asked me to whom he should give the post. I 
told him I thought that question was a greater compliment 
to me than the offer had been, and said there were two 
men at the Bar either of whom would make an excellent 
appointment. They were J. C. Mathew and A. L. Smith. 
Mathew, I said, was in all the big commercial cases, and 
would certainly get a judgeship soon, and he was not a 
man of strong physique. 

1877-80] JOY AND SORROW 153 

But A. L. Smith was a strong man, a splendid worker, 
the very ideal of a Treasury Counsel. " Then," said the 
Attorney-General, " I will give it to him." 

When I left the room my excellent clerk, John Peacock, 
who had then been with me eleven years and who had 
guessed the reason of the interview, was anxiously waiting 
to hear the result, and looked very sad when I told him I 
had refused. " Why whatever do you want, sir ? " said 
he. " Well, John," I said, " I should like to have ten 
years in the House of Commons and be Solicitor-General." 

I went to Waterloo to meet my dear ones, and we travelled 
to Richmond, where the Inns of Court Rifles, of which I 
had been for some years a member, were in camp and having 
a reception and some sports. 

After a pleasant hour there we walked on through the 
park to Twickenham Ferry. My dear wife was full of joy 
and pride, my girl of ten and my boy of seven danced along 
beside us. We were all in perfect health, all as happy as 
human souls can be ; no earthly blessedness was denied us. 

I have never since that day felt the glow of perfect 
happiness without trembling to think of what the future 
might have in store. 

Within a week my dear mother's health had broken down, 
and she had passed into the condition of a hopeless invalid, 
to linger on for three years of mental and physical decay. 
Within a month a sudden and previously unknown or un- 
noticed cough had alarmed me about my wife, and I had 
received from Sir Andrew Clark, to whom at once I took 
her, a letter telling me that her lungs were so seriously 
affected that she could not live for more than two years. 
In less than four months my darling little Mabel, who on 
that June day had looked a very picture of childish life 
and beauty, died of tubercular meningitis. 

I had taken my wife to Devonshire that autumn in the hope 

that the softer air would relieve the cruel cough which was 

now wearing down her strength, and had then left her with 

friends at Petersfield while I came back to work. 

One evening my little girl leaned her head upon my 


shoulder and complained of headache. The next day it 
continued and her eyes had a strange look. 

I fetched her mother to town and called in a noted expert 
in children's ailments. He took me to the door when he 
left, and told me to break it to my wife that the case was 
hopeless, and that our child could not live for many days. 
A week later I held her hand, and repeated Greenwood's 
exquisite poem, but I do not think she heard me. 

" It is only a falling asleep 'twixt the evening and morning light." 
" Good- night then, papa, and God bless you." " My darling, my darling, 

So in three years from that day when I seemed to touch 
the very height of earthly happiness, child, wife, and mother 
were all to be lost. 

The year 1880 opened sadly. The loss of our dear little 
daughter had fallen very heavily on my wife and myself, 
and there was the ever-present trouble of her own gradually 
failing health. The winter in London tried her too much, 
so I took rooms for her at Hastings, and went down myself 
from Saturday to Monday. My legal work was very trying, 
for the earning of between 5,000 and 6,000 a year in junior 
practice means very long hours of work and a great deal of 
monotonous if not difficult labour ; and the coming elec- 
tion, which could not be long delayed, kept me constantly 
busy with meetings and dinners at Southwark, and in the 
work which had to be done for The Southwark Mercury. 

I felt very weary and depressed, and even thought of 
asking to be released from my candidature, v/hen suddenly 
the opportunity came to which I had so long been looking 

The story of the Southwark election may be partly told 
in the letters which I found rather more than a year later 
in the desk where my dear wife had treasured them. 


January zoth, 1880. 


I have been dining here this evening and working 
away since dinner at my speech for next Monday, and now 

1877-80] A HUSBAND'S LETTERS 155 

before I go home I will have a little chat with my Pet. I 
have really something to tell you. Do not be disappointed ; 
it is not that the " Silk " has come ; I have heard nothing 
about that. But I hear that this afternoon Mr. Locke was 
taken home from the Temple very ill. He is an old man, 
and quite possibly a few days may see a vacancy for South- 
wark. In one way it would be a serious matter for me. 
To have to fight Southwark twice in a few months would 
be a very costly thing. However, I must fight if the chance 
comes and trust to success to make it up to me. I hope you 
have had two days as bright and pleasant as they have 
been here, and that the improvement it made me so happy 
to see on Sunday is continuing and advancing. I am better ; 
not quite the thing, but quite ready to begin a good fight 
over the water. My love to Fanny and fondest affection to 
little Jurat Jum and to my own dearest Pet. 

Ever your own 

E. C. 


January ^oth, 1880. 


Just a line the fight has come and I am up to my 
eyes in work. But I shall run down to-morrow afternoon 
by the usual train to have a few hours of love and quiet 
with you. I hope you are better again ; keep your spirits 
up and let us look forward to a holiday together at Easter. 
By that time I may be M.P. ; if not, I shall have fought a 
contest that will not be forgotten. I am well, but for a 
cold caught on Monday when a window was opened over 
my head while I was speaking. However, I will take all 
care of myself. My address will not be published or any 
meeting held until after the funeral, probably Tuesday, 
and the election itself will very likely take place on Thurs- 
day week. I have the best agent in England, I. N. Edwards, 
Smith's agent at Westminster. He will meet me here at 
7 this evening, and afterwards I speak at a meeting at 
Lambeth. I enclose letter from Shirley House, and shall 
hope to see the boy to-morrow and bring you news of him. 

Ever your own 


54, Eversfield Place, 
St. Leonards. 


I was justified in saying that the contest would not 
soon be forgotten. It was being fought at a time and 
place which gave it great importance. Southwark was a 
constituency of 250,000 inhabitants and 22,000 voters. 
The vacancy was caused by the death of a Liberal member, 
representing what wa taken to be a Liberal constituency. 
One seat indeed had been filled by Colonel Beresford, a 
local wharfinger, and a sound Tory, but on both occasions 
of his election he had polled less than half of the votes 
recorded, and had owed his success to the divisions on the 
Liberal side. Now the new machinery of the Birmingham 
Caucus was put in force. The Liberal Two Hundred selected 
Mr. Andrew Dunn, an iron-merchant and prominent Non- 
conformist, who had long been active in Radical political 
work in the borough, and had been a defeated candidate 
at the previous election. 

Mr. George Shipton, a Radical Labour candidate, insisted 
on standing, but it was known that he had very slight 
chance of success. The question seemed to be whether 
he would take away enough votes from the Liberal candi- 
date to let me in. 

It was fortunate for me that before Mr. Locke's death a 
meeting had been arranged for the evening of January 26th, 
and although, as the funeral had not taken place, no refer- 
ence was made to the election, I had the opportunity of 
making a speech on important public topics, and through 
The Southwark Mercury and in a reprint in pamphlet form 
it was circulated all over the constituency. 

The three great questions before the electors were Foreign 
Policy, Home Rule, and Local Option, and on all three I 
spoke very distinctly. 

My address was issued on February 4th. It was a long 
document; not, I fear, very useful for election purposes, 
and, as I soon found, very expensive to print, but it was 
my first formal declaration of political principles, and I 
wanted it to be full and emphatic. Its length has made me 
somewhat reluctant to reproduce it here, but it is the only 
full statement of opinion and policy which I ever had 


occasion to publish, and I hope that all who take an 
interest in the story of my political life will read this address 
as a preface. 

One topic which was not specially dealt with in the' 
address soon came to the front. That was the question of 
Tariff Reform. At a large meeting at Bermondsey I de- 
clared myself strongly opposed to any taxes on food or 
raw material, but in favour of taxes on imported manu- 
factured goods where foreign nations had placed import 
duties upon ours. 



The death of the senior member for your Borough, 
my old friend Mr. John Locke, who had for many years 
been held in deserved esteem by all classes among his con- 
stituents, affords you an opportunity of expressing your 
opinion upon the conduct of public affairs. 

The questions before you for consideration are of national 
importance ; and the judgment which shall be expressed 
by the great constituency of Southwark will materially 
influence the opinion and the action of the country at large. 

During the last six years a Conservative Government 
has directed the policy, and conducted the administration, 
of Great Britain, under the accumulated difficulties of foreign 
war, depressed commerce, failing harvests, and the most 
malicious opposition which the history of this country 
affords. As a Conservative, I ask you fairly to consider 
the title which that Government has established to your 
confidence and support. 

In Eastern Europe the policy of Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment has received the justification of complete success. 
The Berlin Treaty has not only for the past eighteen months 
secured the peace of Europe, but has dissolved the for- 
midable triple alliance, which hindered the progress of 
Constitutional freedom and menaced the independence of 
the smaller States. At the great council which gathered 
at Berlin, the representatives of Great Britain spoke in the 
name of a people who were anxious for honourable peace, 
but had shown themselves ready to bear the burdens and 


anxieties of war. The firm and resolute will of Lord Beacons- 
field was shared and sustained by the great majority of his 
countrymen, and the jealousies and ambitions which had 
threatened Europe with the horrors of wide-spreading war 
disappeared before the peaceful and unselfish but un- 
wavering policy of the people of Great Britain. 

In Afghanistan the Liberal Government of 1868-74 had 
succeeded in disturbing and alienating the Ameer, and in 
providing for Russia an opportunity for unofficial war 
against this country, of which, in the crisis of the European 
difficulties, she gladly availed herself. To have remained 
quiescent would have been to expose our Indian Empire to 
the danger of an invasion, of whose time and place we should 
have had no warning, of whose strength we could make no 
estimate, and whose retreat we could not follow. The 
emergency was firmly met, the passes of the North- Western 
frontier are now in our hands ; and the chief danger which 
threatened the safety of our empire in India is finally dis- 

In South Africa a war, for which the Home Government 
was in no way responsible, has ended in the destruction of 
a barbaric military organisation which disturbed the peace 
and hindered the progress of our colonies. 

The Government has been called upon to provide for 
large and exceptional expenditure, while the depression of 
commerce and the failure of recent harvests have checked, 
for a time, the natural tendency of the revenue to increase. 
Yet they have neither imposed heavier burdens on the 
people, nor increased the national debt. The Liberal 
Government of 1868-74 had five complete years of office ; 
of the Conservative administration only five years have 
yet been completed. It is fair to compare these terms. 
In the five years of Conservative rule the amount paid in 
taxation was less per head than it was in the five years of 
Mr. Gladstone ; the Income Tax, which in the same period 
amounted under Mr. Gladstone to is. lod. in the , in the 
five years of the Conservatives was only is. 3^. ; and, at 
the end of the five years, the Conservative Government had 
effected a real reduction in the debt of the country of no 
less than seventeen millions and a half. 

It has been the fashion of late for Radical speakers to 
declare that domestic legislation has been neglected. The 
accusation comes from those who, by abetting a system 

1877-80] THE TORY RECORD 159 

of mere obstruction, have done their best to bring Parlia- 
mentary Government to inefficiency and disrepute. And the 
accusation is not true. During the last six sessions between 
twenty and thirty Acts have been passed into law by the 
exertions of the Ministry, which have directly and sub- 
stantially contributed to the health, education, and social 
welfare of the people. 

The administration of the law has been rendered more 
simple and more speedy ; the prosecution of criminals has 
been assumed as the duty of the State instead of being left 
to the revenge of the victim of the crime ; the right to a 
trial by jury has been widely extended ; the unnecessary 
and costly imprisonment for small offences has been greatly 
lessened ; the treatment of criminals undergoing imprison- 
ment has been rendered uniform. 

The laws relating to Public Health have been consolidated 
and improved ; municipalities have received powers to 
remove unhealthy dwellings. Rivers have been protected 
from pollution and Commons from enclosure ; and the 
Factories Act of 1874, and the Factories and Workshops 
Act of 1878, completed a series of Acts which have given 
comfort to the homes of working men and saved their 
children from the evils of premature toil. 

The relations between employers and employed have 
been improved by the Acts of 1875, and the real grievance 
which working men suffered under the law of conspiracy, as 
then expounded, was removed in that year ; in the same 
session the statute was passed under which Friendly Societies 
have been enabled to reorganise themselves on a safer 
basis than before ; and the Agricultural Holdings Act secured 
to every tenant, who had no written contract with his land- 
lord, compensation for what he had put upon the farm, and 
an ample term of notice before he could be made to quit 

I have not attempted to summarise the whole of the 
legislation of these years, but the measures I have named 
do, in themselves, constitute a body of social reform of 
which the Ministry may be proud. 

Of a ministry which has thus worthily upheld the influ- 
ence of Great Britain, wisely administered the national 
resources, and diligently applied itself to useful legislation, 
I avow myself a firm and earnest supporter, and I appeal 
to ail among you who value our good name abroad and 


good government at home to give me your votes in this 

The condition of Ireland has again become a question of 
serious difficulty. Bad harvests have checked the steady 
advance in material prosperity which she has now enjoyed 
for many years, and to add to her misfortune an agitation 
has been raging among her people which must inevitably 
tend to drive away the capital which she so sorely needs. 
The first duty of the nation is clear ; to relieve by volun- 
tary subscription, or, if needful, by the application of public 
funds, the real want which is undoubtedly felt in certain 
parts of Ireland. The second duty is equally clear ; to 
uphold the authority of the law and to protect with 
impartial firmness order, property, and freedom. I hope 
that any inequalities before the law which may exist 
may speedily be redressed ; that municipal institutions 
in Ireland may be extended ; that the measures recently 
passed to aid the intermediate and higher education of 
Irishmen may receive full development ; and that the 
purely administrative business of the country may be 
carried out by local inquiries and provisional orders, 
instead of the costly and tedious process of Committees 
and Bills in the Imperial Parliament. But I distrust 
the legislation of panic or of passion, and the states- 
manship which allows a political murder or street outrage 
to prompt the overthrow of a church and the con- 
fiscation of its property ; or which offers to the starving 
peasants of Connaught the barren gift of a scheme by which 
the Imperial Government may become an improvident 
money-lender, to enable thriving tenants to purchase the 
fee-simple of the lands they farm. And I would defend the 
integrity of the Empire as resolutely against a domestic 
faction as against a foreign foe. 

In the field of practical legislation there is plenty of work 
for Parliament to do. The codification of the Criminal 
Law ; the establishment of a reasonable and uniform system 
of valuation for rating purposes ; the amendment of the 
law of bankruptcy ; the simplification of the title to land ; 
the removal of the rule which prevents a person charged 
with crime from giving evidence on his own behalf, and will 
not permit his wife to be called as a witness ; the abolition 
of the rule by which the eldest son in the case of an intestacy 
takes the whole of the landed property, these are among 


the matters upon which I hope I might usefully assist in 
the work of legislation. 

I am by education and by conviction a Churchman, and 
I believe that the maintenance of the Church of England 
and her continued devotion to the work of religious educa 
tion are the surest guarantees of the happiness and true 
prosperity of the country. The schemes of the Liberation 
Society, now for party purposes discreetly suppressed, to be 
again brought forward if the confederacy of 1868 is again 
found possible, will find in me a resolute opponent. 

I have never been able to persuade myself that voluntary 
abstinence from any luxury entitles me to prohibit other 
people from enjoying it, and I oppose the Permissive Bill 
agitation in all its forms. 

I have lived many years in the South of London, and am 
thoroughly acquainted with the local interests of South- 
wark ; and during the last eighteen months I have taken 
every opportunity of making myself known among you. In 
so large a borough a personal canvass is, of course, impos- 
sible, but I ask you to read my speeches, to come, if you 
can, to hear me, and then to judge if I am fit to be your 
member. I have no ambition which is in conflict with your 
interests ; and if you honour me with the proud position of 
your representative in Parliament, I will strive with all my 
powers to prove myself worthy of your trust. 
I am, Gentlemen, 

Your most obedient Servant, 


February qth, 1880. 

I spent a very busy week in speaking and canvassing, 
and at its close was able to write confidently of my prospects 
of success. 

February nth, 1880. 


I was very glad to hear this morning that you are 
feeling better, and are able to get out, and hope you will 
be looking quite yourself when I come to receive your 

For I think I am going to win. There is great enthusiasm 
for me all over the borough. 


I spoke at five meetings yesterday, have been to two 
to-day, and have three more this evening. 

So far my voice holds out very well, but I am glad there 
is only one more day's talking. 

The votes will not be counted until Saturday, but I hope 
that by two o'clock that day you will have a telegram of the 
result. I am off now again, so with fondest love, good-bye. 

Your own 


The day of polling was my day of fortune (February I3th), 
and was one of brilliant weather. As the clock struck eight 
and the poll opened, my carriage, gay with purple and 
orange ribands, and with two of Tilling's oldest servants 
on the box, left the door of the Bridge House Hotel, my 
central committee-room, and I drove to Rotherhithe, the 
most Conservative district of the borough, to meet the men 
as they came out from the Docks for breakfast. The next 
twelve hours were a tumult of cheers, and handshakings, 
and little speeches at street corners, and visits to the 
committee-rooms, to each of which I paid three visits in the 
day. The streets were gay with flags, and as the day wore 
on crowds gathered at every polling-place, and highly 
imaginative placards showing Dunn well ahead in the poll 
added to the excitement. At eight o'clock the poll closed, 
and I drove along the Borough on my way home, standing 
in the carriage and waving my hat, to show our friends 
that we believed we had won. 


February itfh, 1880. 


The Poll is over, and although we cannot tell for 
certain, I think I have won. 

You shall have a telegram as soon as possible, and I hope 
to be down by the usual (3) train. 

I have not much voice left, but otherwise am quite well. 

Your own 

E. C. 

The next morning after eight or nine hours of sound and 
untroubled sleep I went down to the Vestry Hall in the 

1877-80] A NOTABLE VICTORY 163 

Borough Road for the counting of the votes, confident and 
cheerful. I found my chairman, Mr. Mark Cattley, haggard 
and anxious. He told me he had hardly slept all night. 
Presently the ballot boxes were opened, and the papers tied 
up in bundles of fifty and handed over as required to the 
polling clerks. Each clerk had beside him the representa- 
tives of the three candidates, who saw each paper as he 
dealt with it, and took care that the vote was entered in 
the right column. In a few minutes it was clear that 
Ship ton was quite out of the race. There were seldom 
more than half a dozen votes for him in one of the packets. 
It was some time before I could feel quite sure that I had 
beaten Dunn. But, although the packets varied in their 
yield, the columns which recorded the votes for me were 
filled first upon every sheet, and before the counting was 
half completed the question that really interested us all 
was whether I had polled more than both the other candi- 
dates together. To my great delight this proved to be 
the case. About one o'clock the figures were announced ; 
Clarke, 7,683, Dunn, 6,830, and Shipton, 799. 

It was a notable victory. It was not only the gain of a 
seat. For the first time, and indeed for the only time in 
its electoral history, the borough of Southwark had returned 
a Conservative member by a majority of the votes cast at 
the election. 

During the morning, although the rain was falling, a great 
crowd had been gathering in front of the Vestry Hall, and 
when we went to the windows for the public declaration of 
the numbers I had a tremendous reception. Of course 
there were shouts for a speech, but that was impossible. 

I had hardly any voice left, so I could only point to my 
throat and express my thanks by gesture. My committee 
and I had a very festive lunch at the Bridge House Hotel, 
and in the afternoon I went down to Hastings, where my 
dear wife had received the first telegram sent off after the 
result was known. 

It was a triumphant journey. At Tonbridge I had quite 
a levee of congratulation ; at Hastings the Conservative. 


Association rooms were befiagged, and at night illuminated 
in honour of the victory. The next day, Sunday, was my 
thirty-ninth birthday, and I never needed more the day of 
rest and worship. 

Letters of congratulation poured in upon me ; most 
delightful of all the few lines in which my dear father, 
within two months of his eightieth birthday, spoke his joy 
and pride. 

February i^th, 1880. 

Is it possible I can address my very dear son Edward as 
an M.P. It is so certainly, though I could almost fancy it 
a dream. 

May God bless, guide, and comfort you in all your doings 
is the earnest prayer of your ever affectionate 


Best love to dear Annie and congratulations. 


February i6th, 1880. 


My first letter from the House must of course come 
to your dear self. I have had a great reception here ; 
cheering as I came up the floor to take the oath and sign 
the Roll of Parliament, and the Ministers present shook 
hands with me, Sir Stafford Northcote, the Leader of the 
House, being the first to offer his hand. Since then I have 
been making the round of the library, dining-rooms, etc., and 
being introduced to members I did not know. I am over- 
whelmed with congratulations. And best of all I have just 
seen Corry, Lord Beaconsfield's private secretary, who tells 
me the Chief has been specially pleased with my Southwark 
speeches, and particularly with the phrase quoted in to-day's 
Times. 1 He wants to make my acquaintance, and wishes me 
to go to lunch with him one day this week. Grandpapa, 
Edward Pinches, and Percival had seats just above the 
clock, where they could see very well. 

The boy has gone home, and as no division is expected at 

1 " Englishmen are proud of the privileges of freedom and are not 
afraid of the responsibilities of Empire." 

1877-80] LUNCH WITH THE CHIEF 165 

present I am going over to the St. Stephen's to dine with 
Grandpapa and E. P. 

Good-night, my darling, and God bless you. 

Your devoted husband 

One more letter will complete the story of this contest. 


February iglh, 1880. 


I was delighted to get your letter this morning and 
to find that you are in somewhat better spirits 

For the letter yesterday made me very sad. It is a heavy 
drawback to the pleasure of all my great successes that I 
cannot have with me, to share the triumph, the dear one 
who loved me and believed in me in the day of humble 

But do not be too downhearted, dear. The winter is 
fast going by, and the milder spring will let you be out 
more, and perhaps may bring you back all the health and 
strength you had a year and a half ago. 

Meanwhile I know you will like to hear of what I do 
This afternoon I lunched with " the Chief." His private 
secretary, Sir William Dyke, and Whitley, the new member 
for Liverpool, were there. Lord B. was most kind. He 
said the South wark fight was " a brilliant campaign bril- 
liantly fought," and chatted about politics and literature 
for an hour and a half. But I cannot tell you more ; I 
must dress and be off to dine at the Grocers' Hall, and 
expect a late night at the House afterwards. Love to 
Fanny. I shall be down on Saturday by the usual train, 
and should like dinner at six. 

Ever fondly yours, 


My voice is coming back slowly. 

The question when I should make my first speech was 
an important one. Much interest had been taken in my 
election, and the newspapers had said much in praise of the 
speeches I had made during the contest. 

I felt bound to be very careful in choosing the oppor- 
tunity of justifying, if I could, this praise, and the anticipa- 


tion of my friends. Some wise counsellor, I think Sir 
William Hart Dyke, advised me to study the order paper 
and see what subjects were fixed for the Tuesday and Friday 
evenings, choose one that suited me, and then carefully 
prepare my speech. I chose the subject of Local Option, 
which was to be discussed on Friday, March 8th, on a reso- 
lution to be proposed by Sir Wilfrid Lawson, who had 
given up the Local Veto Bill which he had introduced in 
several successive years, and now sought to pledge the 
House to a general declaration in favour of his scheme. I 
carefully prepared a simple debating speech, with no passages 
of rhetorical ornament, not even a peroration, and let it 
be known that I meant to take part in the debate. Sir 
John Hay had acquired a prescriptive right to occupy the 
seat next above the gangway in the second row on the 
Government side of the House, and he offered it to me for 
the evening as the best position from which a private 
member could speak. When I was seen in his place at the 
opening of the debate, Lord George Hamilton sent me a 
note saying he hoped I would not speak until after ten 
o'clock, a? the Speaker would call me whenever I rose, and 
he and Stanhope wished me to speak when the House 
would be full. 

So I sat and had the experience which I suppose has been 
that of most men to whom success in the House of Commons 
has been so important, and who understood how kind and 
yet how critical that House is. As the debate went on I 
heard other men make points that I had prepared ; my 
head began to ache ; I could eat no dinner, but rested 
for an hour on a couch in the upper lobby behind the 
gallery, and felt more depressed and nervous than I have 
ever felt before or since. Lord Barrington at that time 
wrote the account of the debates for the Queen. He came 
and sat awhile in the seat below me, and I heard him say 
to his neighbour, "He is not going to speak ; he has no 
notes/' He little knew how thoroughly I had in memory 
the notes which, for safety's sake, I carried in my pocket. 
The dull hours from eight to ten dragged along and then 

1877-80] MY MAIDEN SPEECH 167 

John Bright rose. Rowland Winn, the Whip, came to me 
doubtingly. " Are you prepared to follow Bright ? " It 
was the very chance I wanted ; and while cheers were 
following his peroration, which was admirable in expres- 
sion, but to my surprise obviously read from his manuscript, 
I rose. The House gave me a generous welcome, but my 
speech was nearly ruined at its start, for when I asked 
the indulgence of the House for my presumption in following 
one of the great ornaments of its debates, a dull Tory 
sitting next to me, one Denzil Onslow, protested against 
the complimentary phrase with a loud " Oh, oh." 

For a moment or two I was nearly breaking down, I could 
hardly see the House ; my voice sounded strange and 
harsh, my lips were dry. But my trouble was noticed ; a 
kindly and general cheer set me right, and, when once 
myself was forgotten and my theme alone remembered, I 
felt no difficulty. 

I spoke for about forty minutes, and when I sat down I 
knew I had succeeded to the full measure of my hopes. 
Lord Hartington followed and closed the debate and spoke 
generously of me and of my speech. 

Then came the division and the congratulations of the 
Lobby, and the thanks of ministers, and pleasantest of all 
a letter from the chief of the Reporters' Gallery full of com- 
pliment and good wishes from my old friends of the Press, 
and I was a proud and happy man. The supreme trial of 
my life, its hope and anxiety from boyhood, had come 
and passed, and I had succeeded. I drove home and found 
that a near relative who had heard my speech from the 
Strangers' Gallery had arrived half an hour before with the 
news of my triumph. 

I found my dear little wife in a passion of tears. The 
triumph had indeed come to which we had so long looked 
forward, but it was a triumph she could not share. 

She knew that she was dying : I knew that it was only 
for a few months longer that I could enjoy the sweet and 
patient companionship which had blessed and strengthened 
me in the years of struggle. It was upon her that the 


heaviest burden of that struggle had fallen, for she had 
known the hard economies of narrow means, and, when they 
had passed, the pains and sorrows of illness, and I do not 
doubt that in my absorption in work and in ambition I had 
often been negligent and unsympathetic. Now Fame and 
Fortune were at the door, and she could not stay to receive 
them. I knelt beside her bed and we cried together. 

It soon appeared as if my triumph would be very short- 
lived. On the Saturday the newspapers were full of praise. 
The Times spoke of " the effective part which Mr. Clarke 
took in the debate in his vigorous maiden speech." It was 
with a new pride that I went down to the House on Monday 
to taste again the pleasures of success. But as soon as 
questions were over, Sir Stafford Northcote rose to make 
a statement as to the course of business, and quietly an- 
nounced that as soon as indispensable matters could be 
disposed of Parliament would be dissolved. 

Again my wonderful good fortune had shown it sell. 

For the House to have risen without my having spoken 
would have been a real disaster to me. And, knowing 
nothing of what was to happen, for the dissolution was only 
resolved upon at a Cabinet meeting on the Sunday, at 
which I believe Lord Beaconsfield was overborne by his 
colleagues, I had made my maiden speech at the last hour 
of the last day on which the House would listen to speeches 
at all. There was a rush from London and every one was 
preparing for the new elections. 

It was a heavy blow to me. The labour and excitement 
of such a contest as I had just gone through, and the 
anxiety of having to repeat the struggle, coupled with my 
home sorrows, were too much for me. In the afternoon 
my friend Edward Pinches went with me to the office of 
The Kentish Mercury at Deptford to arrange for the printing 
of my address and the publication of The Southwark Mercury 
during the election. As we walked along the Old Kent 
Road on our way back to Huntingdon Lodge, I suddenly 
felt strangely ill. 

My eyes were dim, my feet were heavy. Presently I 

1877-80] A BREAK-DOWN 169 

said, " Teddy, there is something very wrong with me, I 
cannot walk straight." He took me into a shop, and 
I waited while a cab was found to take me home. There 
I lay on a couch and managed to dictate my address. The 
next morning I went to my old friend Sir William Jenner. 
He said, " Drive home at once, take the earliest train you 
can to Brighton, take a quiet lodging, on no account look 
at a book or a newspaper, walk about on the sea-front till 
you are tired out, and then go in and sleep, and drink every 
day two glasses of the best champagne you can get " (I 
had been for four years a strict teetotaller). My wife could 
not go with me, so my sister Fanny did. I followed the rules 
given, and at the end of a fortnight I was able to go with 
Edward Pinches to stay in the Isle of Wight. 

Meanwhile, on March 24th, Parliament had been dis- 
solved and the elections were going on, but I knew nothing 
about them except that my committee, who had definitely 
agreed with me directly the approach of the dissolution 
was announced that I should be the only Conservative can- 
didate, changed their minds, perhaps in view of my illness, 
and brought out Mr. Mark Cattley as my colleague. He 
was a jovial, good-tempered man, but knew nothing of 
politics and was a wretchedly poor speaker. His single joke, 
and he was quite fond of it, was, " My friends, you know 
I am a man of mark." When four days before the polling 
I came back and reported myself to Sir William Jenner 
and got permission to appear on the platform, I found that 
all was lost. An unscrupulous Irishman had been down 
making lying speeches about me. Although I had never 
been in the House when the question of flogging in the army 
was discussed, coloured placards were posted about the 
borough, showing a soldier being flogged and the blood 
running down his back, while I looked on approvingly. 

The result was determined by the Irish Roman Catholic 
vote. The priests were strongly with me on the question 
of religious education, but as one of them told me they 
feared to lose their hold on the people altogether if they 
attempted to control them, and four or five hundred Irish- 


men who voted for me in February, in April marched to 
the poll four abreast with green ribands in their coats to 
vote against me. The figures at the poll were : Cohen, 
9,693 ; Thorold Rogers, 9,521 ; Clarke, 8,163 ; and Cattley, 

7> 6 74- 

So for a time my political career appeared to close. 



THE Southwark elections had been very expensive; the adver- 
tised election expenses of both sides in the two contests which 
had occurred within six weeks were over 22,000. There 
had been generous subscriptions, and the party fund helped 
largely, so I had personally contributed only 1,500, but 
this was not an insignificant sum. My health, too, had been 
badly shaken. Still, I had made my way into the House 
of Commons, and had there made one successful speech. 
And while the March election was going on Lord Cairns had 
given me the silk gown for which I had asked immediately 
after my election in February. 

Usually a new Q.C. finds his income is for a time dimin- 
ished. This was not the case with me, for while in 1879 
I had earned 5,300, in 1880 my fee-book showed a total 
of 6,000. My expenditure on the elections was soon made 
up. There was a large crop of election petitions, and I was 
retained in twelve. 

To be so soon deprived of the seat which I had worked so 
hard to get was, of course, a great disappointment, but the 
consolation I had given to Hardinge Giffard in 1874 now 
became applicable to myself. 

Southwark would have been a difficult and uncertain and 
very expensive constituency. 

There are always vacancies occurring in a new House of 
Commons during its first few months, especially when a new 
Ministry has to be formed, and still more when the election 
has been as corrupt as that of 1880. There were sure to be 
petitions in which I might earn large fees, and it was not 



unlikely that one of these might open to me a way of return 
to the House. And if I could get back I should find myself 
in the best possible position for making my way into the 
front fighting rank. 

The young man who gets into the House of Commons 
when his side is in office with a good majority has a very 
poor chance of distinguishing himself. In important de- 
bates the best times in the sitting are given to the men 
on the front benches, and although, as in my case, a new 
member is allowed precedence when he rises to make his 
maiden speech, the privilege is not of much use to him when 
there are a hundred other new members with the same 
claim to preference and all seeking an early opportunity 
of gratifying their wives and their constituents. And on 
ordinary nights there are few listeners, and the Government 
Whips are anxious to get business done, and are by no 
means encouraging to young speakers. 

The fortunate man is he who finds himself in the House 
of Commons when his party has just been defeated and 
turned out of oifice. Then is the golden opportunity which 
he too often allows to let slip. His Whips appreciate 
eloquence in a way which was quite impossible to them 
when in office. The effective speech which stimulates debate 
and incidentally prevents the progress of Government 
business is a sure passport to their favour, and it is in these 
early days of a new Parliament that future under- secretary- 
ships are won. I knew that if I came back to the House 
my party would welcome me, so I turned away quite con- 
tentedly to my legal work. 

Before the end of the month I had taken part in a case 
which was remarkable for the number of leading counsel 
who appeared in it. It was the prosecution of the directors 
of the West of England Bank for conspiring to publish false 
balance sheets. 

Eighteen counsel, of whom eleven were Queen's Counsel, 
were briefed in the case, and eleven of them afterwards 
obtained judicial office. 
The case came on for trial at the Old Bailey on April 27th, 


but there was so much difficulty in finding room for the 
Counsel that it was transferred the next day to the Court 
of Queen's Bench at Guildhall, and there Lord Chief Justice 
Cockburn presided over a trial which lasted for eight days. 
On the second day he asked the defendants if they would 
give their word of honour that they would attend the trial 
from day to day, and accepted their promise instead of 
requiring any recognisances. 

The names of the Counsel are worth recording : 

For the Prosecution : 

Sir John Holker, Attorney-General (afterwards Lord 
Justice) ; Sir Hardinge Giffard, Solicitor-General 
(afterwards Lord Chancellor) ; Arthur Collins, Q.C. 
(afterwards Chief Justice of Bengal) ; A. L. Smith 
(afterwards Master of the Rolls) ; and McKellar. 

For the Defence (all the defendants but two were 
separately represented) : 

Sir Henry James, Q.C. (afterwards refused the Lord 
Chancellorship) ; Herschell, Q.C. (afterwards Lord 
Chancellor) ; Charles Russell, Q.C. (afterwards Lord 
Chief Justice) ; Arthur Charles, Q.C. ; John Day, Q.C. ; 
and Thomas Bucknill, Q.C. (afterwards Judges of the 
High Court) ; Petheram (afterwards Chief Justice of 
Bombay) ; Norris (afterwards Judge in India) ; Edward 
Clarke, Q.C. ; Ralph Littler, Q.C. ; S. H. Day (after- 
wards Master of the High Court) ; and Arthur Poole 
(afterwards Recorder of Bristol). 

On the fourth day of the trial the new Ministry took office, 
and Sir Alexander Cockburn addressed Sir Henry James 
and Mr. Herschell as " Mr. Attorney' 1 and " Mr. Solicitor." 

There was some friction between Sir John Holker and the 
Lord Chief Justice, who was not satisfied with the conduct 
of the prosecution, and appeared very soon to form an 
opinion in favour of the defendants, and the trial concluded 
on the eighth day with an unhesitating verdict of acquittal. 


While it was going on the retainers in the election petitions 
came pouring in. 

Stockport, Gravesend, Cheltenham, Wallingford, Maccles- 
field, Salisbury, Hereford, Plymouth, Colchester, Evesham, 
Canterbury, and Sandwich fell to my share. The Colchester 
case was a very curious one. It was a two-member con- 
stituency, and Mr. Causton (afterwards Lord Southwark) 
and Mr. William Willis, Q.C., were the Liberal candidates, 
and Sir Francis Jeune (afterwards Lord St. Helier and 
President of the Probate and Divorce Division) and Colonel 
Learmonth the Conservatives. The Liberals were declared 
elected, the numbers being, Causton, 1,738; Willis, 1,650; 
Learmonth, 1,649; an ^ Jeune, 1,528. 

But there had been several ballot papers upon the validity 
of which the Mayor as returning officer had to decide. 

These were afterwards inspected and photographed, and 
it was quite clear when they were examined that three or 
four votes had been improperly admitted or rejected, and 
that on the votes being properly counted Mr. Willis was one 
or two below Colonel Learmouth. So a petition was lodged, 
claiming the seat for Learmouth, and an application was 
made to the Court of Common Pleas to order a special case 
to be stated with the disputed ballot papers attached as 
exhibits, and upon that special case to determine which 
candidate had in fact the majority of votes. 

Thereupon the Liberals filed an answer to the petition 
alleging various corrupt practices on the Conservative side, 
and the Court decided that it could not deal with the 
question of the validity of the disputed votes without 
admitting those charges to be tried in the usual fashion. 

There had been a good deal of bribery at the election, and 
the petition was withdrawn ; and Mr. Willis sat for five 
years as member for Colchester without having really been 
elected by a majority of votes. 

At the end of April the trials of the election petitions 
began, and for the first time each was heard by two judges, 
a change which had been chiefly brought about by the 
extraordinary decisions of Baron Martin in 1874 in the 

i88o] GRAVESEND 175 

cases of Westminster (where Mr. W. H. Smith was allowed 
to enter Parliament after an election which had been won 
by wholesale bribery) and Cheltenham and Windsor. 

The first petition tried, and the longest and most costly of 
all, was that of Gravesend, where two judges, Denman and 
Lopes, arrived on April 30 th, and were received with the 
same state as Judges of Assize and housed for a fortnight 
in the house of the Town Clerk. The petitioner was Sir 
Francis Truscott, then Lord Mayor of London, who had 
been defeated by Mr. Bevan, a large employer of labour at 
the cement works on the riverside. Charges of personal 
bribery were made against Mr. Bevan, and the seat was 
claimed for Sir Francis. I was briefed for the petitioner, 
with Mr. Day to lead me and Robert Biron and Lewis Coward 
as my juniors. On the other side were Mr. Lewis Cave, Q.C. 
(afterwards a judge), Chandos Leigh (afterwards Counsel 
to the Speaker), and Frank Lockwood. We (the Counsel) 
had a very cheerful time, for Day and Biron and Lockwood 
and Lewis Coward were the merriest four that could have 
been found in the Temple. There was one night when we 
all dined together at the hotel where the petitioner's counsel 
were lodged, and I remember how, very late in the evening, 
Cave, who was the most solemn of elderly lawyers, and all 
the rest of us except Chandos Leigh, who I think had gone 
to town, danced a break-down round the dinner table, while 
Coward played and sang nigger melodies at the piano. 
Lockwood had not much to do in the case, and he produced 
quite a sheaf of drawings, chiefly of his serious leader dancing 
on the crystal platform at Rosherville Gardens. 

On the Monday the petitioner's case was opened and 
some evidence given, and on Tuesday I was there doing my 
share of examining our witnesses. But I had to come up 
to town that night, for the hearing of the Cheltenham 
petition was fixed for the next day, and in that case I was 
leading for my old friend Mr. (now Sir James) Agg Gardner. 
He was not the petitioner, for the election had not been 
quite so pure on the Conservative side as to make it safe to 
claim the seat, but in addition to the charges against Baron 


de Ferrieres of bribery by his agents, a question of law was 
raised whether a special Act of Parliament by which he had 
been naturalised some years before had the effect of enabling 
him to sit in Parliament. I went to Cheltenham having 
Godson and young Amphlett as my juniors, and Waddy, 
Q.C., Anstie and Willis Bund against me. On the Wednes- 
day I opened the case and called some witnesses, and on 
the Thursday our evidence was continued. 

But our witnesses broke down in the way which is quite 
usual in election petitions, and it was clear that our bribery 
case would fail. So on Friday I interposed the argument 
on the point of law, and that being quite rightly decided 
against me I withdrew the petition. 

The next day, Saturday, I was back at Gravesend, where 
we closed our evidence and Cave began his speech. But I 
was wanted elsewhere, and so long as Day was able to be 
at Gravesend I was of no great use there, so on Monday, 
June yth, I went down to Evesham, where Baron Pollock 
and Sir Henry Hawkins came to try the petition against Mr. 
Ratcliff, a Liverpool merchant who had been returned for 
that tiny constituency by 382 votes against Sir Algernon 
Bofthwick (afterwards Lord Glenesk), who had polled 373. 
The bribery here had really been of the simplest possible 

A man named Ballinger, who was a shoemaker in the little 
town, was employed by Mr. Ratcliff to distribute moneys. 
He was kept supplied with funds, and had a book in which 
he entered the names of the persons to whom from time to 
time he gave small sums. It was suggested that this was 
only Mr. Ratcliff *s way of relieving poverty which he could 
not himself investigate, but the political motive of the gifts 
was at least as evident as the charity, and before we had 
gone on very long on Tuesday morning it was admitted that 
Ballinger was Mr. Ratcliff 's agent, and that the seat could 
not be defended. So he was unseated and ordered to pay 
the costs. In this case, again, it had not been thought 
prudent to claim the seat for Sir Algernon Borthwick. 

On the Wednesday morning, I was back at Gravesend, 

i88o] CANTERBURY 177 

and the evidence for the respondent was closed, and after a 
speech from Cave the recriminatory evidence against Sir 
Francis Truscott was commenced. 

On the Thursday this evidence was being continued when 
the judges interposed, and said they had made up their 
minds that Mr. Bevan must be unseated in consequence of 
the general bribery which they were satisfied had been 
committed. Thereupon Day abandoned the claim to the 
seat, but notwithstanding this the recriminatory case was 
proceeded with then and on the following day. On the 
Saturday morning Mr. Justice Lopes raised the point that 
as the seat must be declared vacant there was no use in 
going on with this recrimination, and after short argument 
this view was agreed to, and the inquiry closed after a trial 
which had lasted twelve days, and cannot have cost less 
than 20,000. Mr. Bevan was unseated, and was ordered 
to pay the larger part of the costs. 

One evening during that trial I was in Rosherville Gardens 
with Mr. Homewood Crawford, the son-in-law of Sir Francis 
Truscott, who was then a private solicitor, but afterwards 
became solicitor to the Corporation of the City of London, 
and I told him how it had been my ambition from 
boyhood to be member for the City. He told me that if 
ever the opportunity came he would give me his best 
help, and twenty-six years later he thoroughly fulfilled his 

The next Monday, June I4th, I went to Canterbury, where 
Mr. Butler Johnstone, who had been one of the Liberal candi- 
dates at the election, petitioned against the return of the 
Hon. A. E. Gathorne Hardy and Colonel Lawrie. Denman 
and Lopes were the judges here, and Murphy, Q.C., Biron, 
and Moulton (afterwards Lord Moulton) were for the 
petitioner, while I appeared for Hardy and Laurie, with 
Finlay (now Lord Chancellor) for my junior. This was a 
very serious case. The seat was not claimed, for there 
had been gross corruption on both sides. The principal 
person concerned on the Conservative side had disappeared, 
and the party managers were very anxious as to what might 


come out. Mr. Gorst, who was then the chief Conservative 
agent, sent me his private cypher so that I could consult 
him freely, and on the Monday night I made a hurried visit 
to London to discuss the situation with him. The evidence 
was continued on Tuesday, but on Wednesday the personal 
charges against Hardy and Lawrie were withdrawn, and I 
thereupon admitted that the election could not stand. 
The respondents were allowed to make statements denying 
the personal charges ; the election was declared void on the 
ground that bribery had extensively prevailed ; and the 
judges made a report to the House which prevented Canter- 
bury from having any members in that Parliament. 

I had now one day's interval, and on Friday the i8th I 
went down to Wallingford with Pollard and Nash as my 
juniors to support the petition against Mr. Walter Wren, who 
had won the seat for the Liberals. Here again the seat was 
not claimed. This was a very curious case. It was known 
that there had been bribery on both sides, but the actual 
evidence which had been obtained when the petition was 
lodged was very scanty. Indeed A. L. Smith, who was at 
our first consultation, advised that it should be abandoned. 
I said that I was sure the judges would help us to find out 
the truth, and that I meant to go to Wallingford and stay 
there until Wren was unseated. Mr. Walter Wren was a 
man of great ability, who was the most successful " coach " 
of his time for young men going up for examinations, 
especially those for the army. 

He went down to Wallingford and announced that he 
would not have any committee. He took a house in the 
place and had its front painted red. Then he hired a 
wagonette and a boy who could blow a horn, and every 
morning drove out from the little town into the agricultural 
districts from which the larger number of the small con- 
stituency came. At the cross-roads he had the horn blown 
until some of the labourers gathered round him, and then 
he made them a speech. As far as our information went, 
although of course no trustworthy reports could be obtained, 
these speeches had very little to do with politics, and con- 

i88o] WALLINGFORD 179 

sisted chiefly of the most lavish promises as to work and 
wages. I think the judges (Denman and Lopes) were rather 
puzzled at the airy indefiniteness of my opening, which was 
all we had time for on the Friday afternoon. 

The next morning while I was at breakfast Murphy (who 
appeared for Wren with Kemp and Torr) came to see me. 
He asked if I thought I could fill up the morning with wit- 
nesses who did not speak to personal bribery by Mr. Wren. 
I said, " Does that mean you are going to surrender ? " 

" Well/' said he, " it is possible that I shall not deny 

I told him I understood, and would do what I could to 
meet him, so I went on calling witnesses who had received 
half-crowns from a travelling tinker who was in the habit 
of going round the neighbourhood mending pots and pans 
and buying rabbit skins. He would urge the man to vote 
for Wren, and if he got a promise a half-crown would be 
found under the mat or on a sideboard after he went away. 
The weakness of this part of the case was that we could not 
show any connection between this man and Mr. Wren. 
I went on calling witnesses who had found these half-crowns 
and had generally told others of their good fortune, and 
presently Denman said, " I notice, Mr. Murphy, you do not 
cross-examine these witnesses. I suppose the only question 
will be one of agency." 

" Oh, my lord/' said Murphy, " I shall have to admit the 

The case was over ; Mr. Wren was unseated and ordered to 
pay the costs, and it was explained that he was anxious to 
deny the personal charges, but was not well enough to come 
into court. 

So my third victim was ousted from his seat. I had yet 
two heavy cases to deal with, those of Macclesfield and 
Plymouth, and unfortunately they were both fixed for trial 
for the same -day, the following Monday, June 2ist. I had 
no special interest in either, but at Macclesfield two Liberal 
seats were being attacked, while at Plymouth only one Con- 
servative had succeeded, and was being petitioned against 


At Macclesfield I was leading for the petition, and it 
might have been difficult to replace me at a day's notice, 
while at Plymouth I was only second counsel for the respon- 
dent, and my absence on the Monday could not, I thought, 
be of great importance. So I wrote to my Plymouth 
clients putting my brief at their disposal, and spent the 
Saturday (I have never, except on rare and special emer- 
gencies, done any legal work on the Sunday) in mastering 
the voluminous Macclesfield brief. 

I finished this task as I travelled down to Macclesfield 
on the Monday morning, and when it was finished I was 
very dissatisfied with the material supplied me. 

There was plenty of evidence of bribery and treating, and 
I had no difficulty in opening a strong case, but when we 
had a consultation in the evening I pointed out to my 
solicitor client that almost all our witnesses described them- 
selves as ward messengers or bill posters or watchers, and 
in these capacities had been paid ; that they would of course 
be asked the question, and that by the time we had called 
a dozen of them the judges would see that the bribery was 
not only on one side. I asked him to go through the list 
and give me the names of those who had not been paid. 

He came to me in the morning, and out of 103 witnesses 
whose evidence was set out in the brief he gave me a list 
of seven. This was unsatisfactory, so I cast about for a 
means of escape from the necessity of calling any witnesses 
at all from our own side. 

We had one little bit of documentary evidence in the 
shape of a small card bearing the name of one of the wards 
of the town and the figure 3, and in the corner the initials 
J. F. T. It was one of a large number of cards which had 
been distributed by the Liberals, uid had been accepted at 
the public-houses and shops in payment for drinks and 
groceries. It bore no printer's name, but I was told that it 
was no doubt printed by the publisher of the Liberal paper, 
who did practically all the election printing on that side. 
I asked if he was likely to be in court that morning, and 
was told that he certainly would. He was the chief 

I88o] MACCLESFlELfi 181 

reporter on his own paper, his name had not been mentioned 
in connection with the petition, and he would be sure to come 
to do his ordinary work. I called two short witnesses who 
were of no importance, and then I called George Brown. 
Mr. Brown had just settled himself down at the re- 
porters' table, and could hardly believe his ears when he 
was invited to the witness box. But there was no escape 
for him, and he was duly sworn. 

I carefully hid the card under my papers, and began to 
ask him about his newspaper, whether it was not an old- 
established and high-class journal and so on. He got quite 
comfortable, and when I held up a collection of ordinary 
election posters and went through them, asking as to each 
whether he was the printer, he was obviously proud of his 
machining. Then I took out the little card and asked if 
he printed that. He hesitated, and became suddenly very 
ignorant of the conduct of his printing business. But I 
told him I was sure the judges would take care that before 
he was allowed to leave the witness box my questions should 
be answered, and so gradually the whole story came out. 
The questions were very simple. " How many of those 
cards did you print ? " " Who ordered them ? " " Where 
were they delivered ? " " Who paid for them ? " " Whose 
initials were those in the corner ? " " Who was the Liberal 
Chairman in that ward ? " " Was this the only ward for 
which cards were printed ? " " Were they in different 
colours for the different wards ? " As to each ward the 
same questions as to orders and payments and the names 
of secretaries and chairman. There was no help for him. 
I got a pretty complete account of the way in which thou- 
sands of these cards had been distributed. There was no 
need to go further. When, with the perspiration dropping 
from his face, he left the witness box, Mr. Waddy rose and 
said that it would not be necessary to continue the investi- 
gation, as he could not defend the seat. So two more 
Liberal members were unseated, and I took the midday 
train back to London. 

Of all the cases which came before me at this time I 


think Macclesfield was the worst. I have no doubt that out 
of the 5,000 voters at that election 3,500 were in one way 
or another bribed. Apart from the wholesale distribution 
of these refreshment cards of which I have spoken, there 
was a merely colourable employment of hundreds of the 
poorer voters. And after the election men not known in 
Macclesfield, " men in the moon " as they used to be called, 
went to the town and held receptions at certain public- 
houses there. 

The voters to whom money had been promised, not by 
any means all poor men, went there and passed singly 
through a room where a man whom they did not know gave 
them money. There was a good deal of ill-feeling about 
the petition, which was considered locally a shocking breach 
of faith. The two local solicitors who acted as party agents 
had agreed upon the sum which each of them was to spend 
as he liked without fear of attack. The Conservative agent 
complained to me that his opponent had broken the agree- 
ment and spent more. It was a satisfaction that a com- 
mission was appointed, and that as a result of its report 
Macclesfield was disfranchised and both the agents were, 
sent to prison for six months. 


LUSH and Manisty were the judges in the Plymouth case, 
which had been opened on the Monday afternoon by Arthur 
Collins, K.C. (afterwards Chief Justice of Bengal), who had 
for his junior R. S. Wright (afterwards a judge) and Latimer. 
Here again the seat was not claimed, and the fact that this 
was the case in almost every petition was strong evidence 
that corrupt practices of one kind and another had been 
very common. 

The respondent was Sir Edward Bates, a wealthy Liver- 
pool shipowner who had sat for Plymouth since 1874, and 
the principal charges were of general bribery by the dis- 
tribution by him of boots and clothes and blankets, but 
there was a special charge of having induced a number 
of Plymouth trawlers to come from Penzance to vote by 
promising to pay the share of the boat earnings which they 
might lose by their absence. The fact was that, it being 
then lawful to pay travelling expenses, a certain William 
Stibbs, who knew well the Barbican fishermen, was sent to 
Penzance with instructions to pay the railway fares but 
nothing more, and if anything more were asked he was to 
telegraph to the agent at Plymouth. Of course the men 
asked for their share of profits, and Stibbs, who was an 
ardent Tory himself, used some expressions in reply, more 
or less indefinite, which brought them all up to Plymouth 
to give their votes. When I found I could not get to 
Plymouth until Wednesday, I telegraphed to ask if I should 
return my brief, and had a reply begging me to come down 
the moment I was free. So on the Wednesday morning 


184 PLYMOUTH [CHAP, xvn 

I travelled down, and on my way read the report of the 
first day's evidence and found that my leader had made 
a fatal mistake. Two of the trawlers had been called, and 
given evidence that Stibbs had said it would be all right, 
and so on, and Day, in order to save time, had agreed to 
accept their evidence as that of the whole twenty. No 
doubt the petitioners had put forward the witnesses they 
had reason to think most favourable to them ; if they had 
been forced to call the others it was almost certain that 
there would have been discrepancies and perhaps contra- 
dictions which would have enabled the judges, as it subse- 
quently appeared they would gladly have done, to give Sir 
Edward Bates the benefit of the doubt in a case where he 
had tried to take precautions against a breach of the law. 
But upon the evidence so accepted there could be only 
one result, and when the judgement came the judges, while 
acquitting Sir Edward Bates of any corrupt motive in his 
generous gifts, and expressing great regret that they were 
obliged to decide against him on this particular part of 
the case, declared his election void. The judgement was 
given on Friday, June 25th, and I went home the same 

Next day a cousin of my wife was married, and after the 
wedding I took her sisters to Richmond and afterwards to 
the theatre. Reaching home after midnight, I found a 
telegram from Plymouth saying that the Executive Com- 
mittee of the Conservative Association had resolved to ask 
me to be their candidate at the by-election. On Sunday 
morning I went to W. H. Smith at Hertford Street, and 
asked his advice, telling him that I felt myself to some 
extent pledged to Southwark, but that I would do what he 
thought best for the party. 

He urged me to accept, so I went a telegram to Plymouth, 
went down by the morning train on Manday, wrote my 
address in the train, was received in Plymouth with bound- 
less enthusiasm, and spoke that night to two great meetings. 
My opponent was an old friend of mine, a barrister I had 
met at the Hardwicke Society, Sir George Young. 

1880] AGAIN . A CANDIDATE 185 

He had fought Plymouth twice, and at the late election 
had been only twenty-five votes below Sir Edward Bates. 

But the excitement of the election was too much for him, 
and he made some foolish speeches. He called me Sir 
Edward Bates' s pocket-piece " of brass with just a taste 
of the pewter," and talked about " the two Neddies being 
drawn from the station by other Neddies." 

A report was spread about, for which he was in no way 
responsible, that I was in money difficulties, and had left 
Southwark without paying my election expenses. I tried 
to trace the rumour to its source, and found it had been set 
about by a prominent Liberal tradesman. I went to him 
with my solicitor, assured him of its untruth, and demanded 
a retractation and apology. He made the apology, and pro- 
mised to undo as far as he could the mischief it had caused. 
That night I had a great meeting at the Guildhall. I stated 
the rumour, and asked all who had heard it to hold up 
their hands. Two or three hundred hands went up. Then 
I gave it the most absolute contradiction, said that not a 
single Southwark debt was outstanding, and that although 
I was not a rich man I was bearing the whole cost of this 
election myself, and that I could do so half-a-dozen times 
over, and yet have something to leave my children. I told 
them how I had traced the slander and confronted the man 
who had repeated it. They shouted for his name. That I 
refused to give. He had, I said, made an apology and 
promised to try to make amends, and I would not hold 
him up to the anger of his fellow- townsmen. The incident 
did me much good, and by the eve of the polling my friends 
were confident. There were 5,500 electors, and we had 
returns of promises from 2,831 : 1,729 were returned as 
against us. Making the full deduction of 15 per cent, from 
our promises, and counting against us all those returned 
as doubtful, we counted on polling 2,406 and expected 
to win. 

On the polling day I was, as always, at the central com- 
mittee room by eight o'clock, and I spent the whole morning 
and the early afternoon in driving round the polling 

i86 PLYMOUTH [CHAP, xvn 

stations inspecting the returns, and keeping up the enthu- 
siasm of my friends. 

About 3 o'clock it was clear I could do no more, so I went 
into the billiard room of the Globe Hotel, and found a 
stranger there who suggested a game. As we played he 
said, " I wish I knew who was going to win this election ; 
I was offered 3 to i just now against Clarke." 

" Oh," said I, " you had better not waste your time 
playing billiards ; go and take 3 to i wherever you can get 

" What, do you know anything about it ? " 

" Not much," said I, " but I am Clarke." 

He slipped out of the room. Whether he took any bets 
I never knew, but I rather think he believed I was a lunatic 
whom the excitement of the election had distraught. 

Canon Mansfield, a dear old Roman Catholic priest who 
had helped me greatly during the canvass, came to the 
Globe to sit with me while the votes were being counted. 
Sir Edward Bates was with us. The result was expected 
to be known by 6 o'clock, and when that hour passed and 
we heard nothing Sir Edward grew very excited. From 
the window at which we sat we saw but few people in the 
streets, for the crowd had pressed into the Guildhall Square. 
Slowly the minutes passed. A quarter past. Half-past. 
Suddenly a dull roar of cheering from the Square ; next 
moment the crowd bursting into the broad space before us 
and rushing towards the hotel. In front came a young 
helper of ours, J. P. Rogers, known familiarly as " the fat 
boy," wildly waving his arms. In two minutes more the 
hotel was filled with a shouting crowd, and in front of us a 
surging mass of four or five thousand people filled the place 
from wall to wall and shouted for a speech, and it was 
long before Sir Edward Bates and I, after coming again 
and again to the window, could get away to our room, and 
take a little of the rest which both wanted. 

The figures of the polling were : Clarke, 2,449 > Young, 

This was a great triumph for me. Less than five months 

i88o] AGAIN A MEMBER 187 

had passed since I was elected for Southwark. Since then 
I had made my speech in the House, I had become a Queen's 
Counsel, I had fought at Southwark again and been beaten ; 
in eight election petitions I had earned nearly 3,000, and 
had helped to unseat five Liberal members; and the last 
petition had opened to me the seat for a place of which I 
knew nothing until four days before I became a candidate. 
Now by the polling I had become the senior member for a 
town as beautiful in its situation, as interesting in its history, 
as important in its character, and its direct connection with 
the public service, as any city in the land, and although I 
did not then know it I was destined to be re-elected five 
times and to represent it without a break, and in the 
happiest of political relations with my constituents, for a 
period of nearly twenty years ; longer than Plymouth had 
been represented by any of its members, and longer than any 
town connected with dockyard and service interests was ever 
represented by the same member. 

The time at last came when the voice of Duty, quite 
clearly heard, laid commands upon me to take a course 
which my constituents so bitterly resented that they expelled 
me from their service, and took away from me the position 
which was the greatest pleasure and pride of my public 
life. I thought I was ungenerously treated ; the blow was 
very heavy, and the wound is not yet healed. But it is no 
longer painful, and as I write these lines I think only of the 
delight of those happy years, when I served a constituency 
which gave me every token of confidence and regard ; 
where every year in their noble Guildhall I spoke, always 
to a great audience, on great public questions ; and where 
I found friendships which cheered and strengthened me 
and which I remember with gratitude and pride to-day. 



DURING the latter part of the year 1880 my dear wife's 
disease made sad progress. We spent the early autumn at 
Worthing with the children, and then I took her for some 
weeks to Devonshire. But she had become very thin and 
frail, and the dreadful cough gave her little rest by night 
or day. When we came back to town the doctors insisted 
that I should no longer sleep in her room, and her married 
cousin came to be her nurse and to take charge of the house- 
hold. But every night when I reached home, however 
late it might be, she was always awake, and we spent some 
time together. 

As I watched her gradual failure I learned to know how 
strong our love had been. And I was troubled, I hope 
without reason, by the haunting fear which adds a sharp 
pang to the sorrowful anxiety of watching a long and hope- 
less illness, the fear lest familiarity with the sorrow should 
in any degree have lessened the keenness of one's sympathy 
with the sufferer or the diligence of one's care. 

Soon after Christmas I took her to the south coast for a 
week or two ; she could scarcely bear the journey, but had 
wished to be alone with me on her last birthday, February 
4th. When we came back to London it was evident that 
the end was near. But she lived on through February. 

On the night of March 2nd I stayed on by her bedside 
thinking that the last hour had come, but she said, "Go 
to bed, dear, I shall not die to-night, I am not quite ready." 

The next night I wanted to stay with her, but she would 


i88o-94] A FALLING ASLEEP 189 

not let me. " Good-night," she said, " it may be to-night, 
for I am quite ready, but cousin Ann will call you." 

About three in the morning there was a knock at the 
door. I hurried to her room, but was too late. 

Almost in sleep, with no word, but only a sigh, she had 
passed away. 

The year 1881 was marked by two national misfortunes 
the full importance of which was not realised until much 
later. The first was the death of the great Earl of Beacons- 
field, the second the defeat of Majuba Hill. Parliament was 
dull ; the chief excitement consisting in the Bradlaugh con- 
troversy, which answered the main purpose of its authors 
by seriously embarrassing Mr. Gladstone, whose majority in 
the House of Commons was already rapidly diminishing. 
I took little part in debate, but towards the end of the 
session I put down on the notice paper a motion that the 
discussion of Bills which had passed their second reading 
in one session, but had not become law, should be resumed 
in the following session at the stage of Committee. Of the 
fortunes, or rather the misfortunes of this proposal, the 
only method by which the House of Commons will ever 
recover its capacity of public service, I shall speak in a later 

My home affairs had, of course, to be ordered afresh. 
Huntingdon Lodge was particularly inconvenient for 
Parliamentary work, so I took and furnished a pleasant 
little set of rooms at Belgrave Mansions just by Victoria 
Station, and only spent the week-ends at my Peckham 
home. There my eldest sister, who had long experience as 
a governess, took charge of the house and of my two young 
children. My father had given up his business some years 
before, and now he and my mother, whose health was 
rapidly failing, left their house at Holloway, and came to 
live in mine. The summer was uneventful, and as soon 
as I could get away I went off to Switzerland, and spent a 
few weeks with my friend Edward Pinches and his wife 


at a modest boarding-house called the Pension Suter, 
delightfully situated on the hill behind Lucerne. 

That holiday over I came back resolved to take up 
political work more vigorously than ever, and I soon had 
the opportunity of speaking upon the same platform as the 
two leaders of the Conservative party. The death of Lord 
Beaconsfield found Lord Salisbury well established in the 
leadership of the House of Lords, while Sir Stafford North- 
cote, if he could hardly be said to lead the Conservatives in 
the House of Commons, at all events strolled in front of them 
and was recognised as their nominal chief, and this dual 
headship lasted until upon Mr. Gladstone's defeat four years 
later the Queen quite rightly sent for the stronger of the 
two statesmen, who thus became the leader of the whole 

It was arranged that a great meeting should be held at 
Newcastle in October at which the two chiefs would appear 
together, and I felt myself highly honoured in being asked 
to join the party and propose the resolution of confidence in 
our leaders. Everything possible was done to give import- 
ance to the demonstration. Lord Salisbury and Sir Stafford 
Northcote stayed with the Duke of Northumberland at 
Alnwick Castle. I spent two very pleasant days at Blagdon 
as the guest of Sir Matthew Ridley and his beautiful wife. 
One day was given to a sort of triumphant procession down 
the Tyne. Twelve gaily flagged steamers went slowly down 
the river, while bells were rung and banners waved and 
sirens shrieked and hooted, and there came from the banks 
the shouts of workmen and the clanging tumult which be- 
tokened the welcome of the coaly town. The leaders stood 
together on the first boat ; on the second I had the un- 
looked-for pleasure of being introduced to Mr. Joseph 
Cowen, then member for Newcastle, who with other Liberal 
leaders joined in the welcome to the two distinguished 
visitors to the town. 

It was charming to see Lady Ridley lavishing her smiles 
and attentions on the rugged republican. 

So far as numbers were concerned, the evening meeting 

1880-94] A GREAT MEETING 191 

was a great success. The Circus was crowded by some five 
thousand people, full of expectation and enthusiasm. But 
the speaking was somewhat heavy. Lord Salisbury was a 
fine speaker. But his carefully prepared and well-balanced 
sentences, his deliberate utterance, the even tones of his 
sonorous voice, and the quiet dignity of his delivery, were 
better suited to a great debate in the House of Lords, or to 
a Guildhall banquet, than to the restless excitement of a 
public meeting. He made a powerful speech, but it was 
dull, and a dull speech to a passionate audience is always 
disappointing. Sir Stafford Northcote was unfortunate. 
He was obviously nervous, and by some ill chance an empty 
chair had been left on the platform just in front of his 
seat. He gripped the back of this chair, and tilted it back- 
wards and forwards through the whole of his speech until 
he made those of us on the platform almost as nervous as 
himself. But this state of things gave me a great oppor- 
tunity, and to be welcomed as I was upon such an occasion 
helped me to succeed, and my speech was, I think, one of 
the best I ever made. 1 Lord Salisbury was especially 
generous in his congratulations on the following day, and 
from^that time to the day of his death he treated me with 
a personal kindness and consideration which added greatly 
to the pleasure of my political work. 

With Sir Stafford Northcote I was already upon the 
pleasantest terms of friendship. When I came back to the 
House of Commons after my election for Plymouth, I met 
Randolph Churchill in the Lobby before I had taken my 
seat, and he urged me to come and sit below the gangway 
with him and Balfour and Gorst and Wolff. " You had 
much better join us," he said. " Sitting up there behind 
the Old Goat, you will never have any fun at all." I de- 
clined the invitation ; and my usual seat was on the second 
bench, where Henry Northcote and I sat together just 
behind the leaders. 

A few weeks before the Newcastle meeting I had a letter 
from Sir Stafford saying that there were two subjects upon 
1 See Fraser's Magazine, November 1881. 


which he wished to consult me, and that he hoped when we 
met at Newcastle we should be able to discuss them. One 
was the very large increase which had just taken place 
in the number of Parliamentary electors, and the other the 
notice of motion which I had given in favour of carrying 
on Bills from one session to another. He said he would 
rather the notice had not been given, but' as it was a fait 
accompli he would like me to consider whether I could not 
qualify it in some way. I knew we should have no oppor- 
tunity of talking it over at Newcastle, so I sent him a long 
letter which he said put my case very well and deserved 
careful consideration. I heard no more from Sir Stafford 
upon this subject, and the motion came on for debate on 
February 2ist, 1882. Unfortunately on that evening we 
had one of the Bradlaugh disturbances, which lasted for 
an hour and a half and was very violent. When that was 
over the House seemed very disinclined to address itself 
to a new subject. I spoke in the dinner hour to a small 
audience, and the debate which followed was dull and un- 
important. The leaders on both sides absented themselves, 
while the obstructors on both sides resisted the proposal. 
As Lord Salisbury was in favour of it, and had himself in 
1869 made a very powerful speech in its support, Sir Stafford 
could not well take the other side, and it was quite character- 
istic of his methods of leadership that he should himself 
leave the House, but make no objection to his son Henry 
seconding the motion and telling with me in the division. 
We were defeated by 126 to 61 ; and eight years passed 
before I had the opportunity of taking any further step 
towards this great reform. The next Parliament lasted 
only five months, and in that of 1886 I was Solicitor- 
General, and was of course debarred from taking any public 
initiative in such a matter. 

The other subject on which Sir Stafford Northcote desired 
to consult me, the great increase in the number of electors, 
was connected with a curious bit of Parliamentary history. 

In the year 1878 the House of Commons, by passing the 
Registration of Voters Bill without full consideration, made, 


without knowing or intending it, a very large extension of 
the Parliamentary franchise. The clause which did this 
was scarcely noticed until three years later, when Sir William 
Harcourt, then Home Secretary, issued a circular to vestry 
clerks and overseers reminding them that every person 
inhabiting part of a house was entitled to be put upon the 
register. The result at Plymouth was that the constituency 
was almost trebled. In 1880 the number of voters was 
about 5,500. In the register which came into force in 
January 1882 the number was very nearly 14,000. I at 
once took steps to get into touch with the new electors. I 
felt that it was my first duty, and clearly my interest, to 
take an opportunity, if possible, of presenting myself before 
them in their different wards, and expounding to them at 
some length my opinions upon 'the principal political topics 
of the day. So instead of having one large open meeting 
at the Guildhall, as after this time was my constant practice, 
I held four meetings in different parts of the town, and sent 
out tickets of admission to all the electors in the different 
wards. In one of these speeches I dealt very fully with 
the condition of Ireland ; in another with the question of 
Parliamentary Reform ; one was devoted to Foreign Policy, 
and in the fourth I dealt very fully with Tariff Reform, which 
was then known by the more accurate and more attractive 
title of Fair Trade. This latter speech I included in the 
volume of Selected Speeches, published in 1908, in order 
that it should vindicate my title to be considered one of 
the earliest and most consistent of Tariff Reformers. 

My work at the Bar was at this time steadily increasing. 
I had had the pleasant and very exceptional experience of 
finding that my taking silk had not caused even a temporary 
reduction of income. It generally does. I have known 
cases where incomes of two or three thousand a year fall 
to a few hundreds, and I have always advised my friends 
never to ask for a silk gown unless they had saved or in- 
herited enough to assure them a private income of at least 
a thousand a year. The Election Petitions of 1880, of course, 
accounted for much of the income of that year ; but the 


5,969 guineas which my fee-book showed for 1880 was 
followed by 6,544 f r 1881, and the average of the three 
years 1881-1883 was 7,293. 

The spring Assize of this latter year brought me the most 
interesting case which had come my way since the great 
cases of 1877. A young child disappeared one day from her 
home in Pimlico, and a fortnight later her body was found 
in the river Medway, at Yalding. A heavy brick had been 
placed upon the chest, and fastened with strong wire wound 
about the body. A young married woman named Esther 
Pay, who had been the mistress of the child's father, himself 
a married man, was soon afterwards arrested, charged with 
the murder, and committed for trial. She was identified as 
the person in whose company the child had last been seen 
in London ; she had then for some time been absent from 
her home, and had given a false account of her movements ; 
and the place where the body was found was near the end 
of a pathway which led to the cottage in which her parents 
lived. I accepted the brief for the defence, and the trial 
took place at Lewes on April 25th, 26th, and 27th before 
Baron Pollock. 

It was a trial of immense dramatic interest, and resulted 
in a verdict of acquittal. I have told the full story else- 
where. 1 Unfortunately no full report was taken of my 

The most important incident of my life in 1882 was my 
remarriage. I had resolved that when the accustomed year 
of mourning was over I would find myself another wife. 
For more than fourteen years I had enjoyed the constant 
society of a loving woman, and I could not resign myself 
to loneliness. And my two children were so young (Ethel 
was only five years old when her mother died) that it would 
be possible for another woman, especially if she were one 
whom they already knew and loved, to knit again the 
broken strands of the home life and to give to their child- 
hood and youth the comfort of a mother's care. Kathleen 
Bryant was their second cousin on their mother's side, and 

1 The Cornhill Magazine, January 1916. 

i88o-94] I MARRY AGAIN 195 

they knew her better and were more attached to her than 
to any other relative ; for during their mother's long illness 
she had very often been with us, helping to take care of them. 
It was not until many years later that I heard that my dear 
one not long before her death had expressed the hope that in 
seeking a second wife my choice should fall upon her. She 
was at this time twenty-four years of age ; the interval 
between her age and mine being exactly that which promised 
a long- continued happiness in married life. Tall, of perfect 
figure, fair complexion, beautiful features, clear blue eyes, 
and bright golden hair, she was the prettiest girl I knew. 
Gradually the intention to ask her to be my wife formed 
itself in my mind, but my time and thought were very full 
of law and politics ; she seemed rather to avoid than to 
seek my company, and I think the end of the year would 
have found me still a widower if it had not been that on 
July 3ist she came with me to see Romeo and Juliet at the 
Lyceum Theatre. That tender tragedy of Love's fair ban- 
quet, spiced with the dust of death, moved us both deeply. 

It was not the acting, for Henry Irving and Ellen Terry, 
an incomparable Benedick and Beatrice, were ill-fitted to 
play the young lovers of Verona. Two years later we saw 
on the same stage the ideal Romeo and Juliet in the 
youthful manliness of William Terriss and the innocent 
beauty of Mary Anderson. But no defect in acting can 
calm the passion of the play. 

As for me, 

" The soul of the rose went into my blood, 
As the music clashed in the hall," 

and although I said nothing that night my mind was made 
up. The next afternoon I asked Kathleen Bryant to be 
content with a short engagement and a very quiet wedding, 
and to marry me on August I2th, and go to Switzerland 
with me for the first part of my long vacation. 

She hesitated, demurred, then accepted, and at the end 
of the following week we were married at St. Giles's, Camber- 


well, and went to spend a couple of days at the Lord Warden 
at Dover on our way to the Continent. 

My dear wife proved to be a delightful companion, an 
admirable housekeeper, and an incomparable nurse. 

There has never been a time during our thirty-five years 
of happy married life when I have not been grateful for the 
enjoyment of her faithful and loving companionship. 

We spent a few happy weeks abroad, and then came 
back to prepare for a political trip to the North of England, 
which had been arranged in consequence of the great success 
of my Newcastle speech. 

It was rather a trying experience for a young bride ; for 
although we were entertained at pleasant houses, we were 
among entire strangers, and much of my time was filled 
with political conferences and the preparation of the speeches 
which were delivered to large audiences at Durham, Dar- 
lington, Sunderland, and Hartlepool. The most interesting 
house we stayed at was Halnaby, the residence of Mr. 
Wilson Todd, where we slept in the same room and bed 
which were occupied by Lord Byron and his wife on their 
wedding night, when the unhappy poet awoke and, seeing 
the red curtains, fancied himself in hell. 

I had a special piece of good fortune in this trip in the 
admirable reporting of my speeches by a young reporter 
who was sent by The Western Morning News to accompany 
my progress from town to town. This man was Henry E. 
Duke. We then improved into friendship the acquaintance 
which had begun at Plymouth, and it has been my privilege 
to be of some use to him in the career which, resembling my 
own in its course through the Reporters' Gallery to the 
Bar and Parliament, has led him now to the high post of 
honour and of danger of the Chief Secretaryship for Ireland. 
A sound lawyer, an impressive speaker, calm in judgment, 
firm in decision, of untiring industry and of unswerving 
rectitude, he is admirably qualified for dealing with the 
difficult problems of Irish Government. 

When the North Country trip was over we went down 
to Plymouth for the annual meeting of the Conservative 


Association, which was always held about the beginning of 
October, and here my young wife was not quite so happy. 
The new chairman of the party, Mr. W. H. Hawker, was 
not master in his own house, where he was not allowed to 
smoke anywhere except in the kitchen, but he avenged 
himself by being despotic elsewhere, and he would not hear 
of a lady being on the platform at the meeting at the 
Assembly Rooms. So my wife had to creep up a narrow 
staircase to a gallery from which she could study the back 
of my head while I made what she thought was a very long 
and a very dull speech. A taste for listening to political 
oratory needs to be acquired. In later years she was fond 
of hearing me speak, but at this time I think she envied 
my chairman his capacity for indulging himself with a little 
gentle sleep at the dull passages. 

The sitting of the Courts brought us back to London, and 
for a time we stayed chiefly at Belgrave Mansions. 

Before the end of the year my mother's long illness 
ended in her death, and we at once began to consider the 
question of taking a more convenient London house. We 
discussed Kensington, and the pleasant district north of 
Hyde Park, and went to look at houses in Onslow Square 
and Elm Park Gardens. But I had set my mind on a 
good library, and in the houses we looked at the third 
sitting-room was generally small and dark. 

One day I said, " I wish we could find a house like one 
of those fine ones in Russell Square." 

" Why not live in Russell Square ? " said my wife. " I 
should not object to it at all." 

Much rejoiced I went to Coade, the house agent, and 
learned that number 37, at the north-east corner of Montagu 
Place, had been put into his hands for private sale. It 
was a fine spacious house built in 1801 for Sir James Park 
(though never occupied by him). There were six reception- 
rooms ; the large drawing-room and the principal bedroom 
were each thirty feet long by twenty wide, and there was a 
delightful first floor room looking on to Montagu Place, thirty- 
one feet by nineteen, which was the ideal library I desired. 


The lease had seventeen years to run, and included a stable 
near at hand ; the ground-rent was only 50 a year, which 
was the rent at which the stable was underlet. 

I bought the residue of the lease for 1,700, and I count 
it one of the chief of the many pieces of good fortune that 
these pages record that for almost the whole of the busy 
period when my working life was spent in the Royal Courts 
in Fleet Street and the Houses of Parliament I occupied a 
delightful house so convenient for both. 

We breakfasted every morning at 9 o'clock, and then, 
independent of omnibus or train, I found useful exercise in 
the twenty minutes' walk which took me down to the Temple. 
When the Courts rose I walked along the Embankment to 
the House of Commons, and thence at the cry " Who goes 
home ? " I walked up Whitehall, through Trafalgar Square, 
and past the Seven Dials, to my home, and so got the four 
miles a day of walking exercise which I have found desirable 
for health. 

That walk home at night was a strange one. When the 
House sat late I should see the disappointed dealers in 
Goblin Market nodding their good-bye to friendly policemen, 
and bargaining with cabmen to drive them home. In 
Trafalgar Square when the nights were warm one saw the 
homeless outcasts lying out upon the stone. At the Seven 
Dials, where the police walked in couples, I used to walk in 
the road or at the pavement edge on the alert, and out of 
reach of the strange forms that sometimes lurked in door- 
ways. I was not troubled by fear, and was never molested ; 
but I have seen the men on fixed point duty tighten their 
belts and start off at a run at the sound of a woman's 
scream ; and one night there were curses and shrieks for 
mercy from an upper room, and a woman crying " Murder " 
managed to throw the street door-key down to the police, 
who rushed in to her help, while the night wanderers crept 
and sidled into the street, and I quickened my homeward 

My wife and I made our new home very comfortable. 
The library was fitted with low bookshelves on the top of 

1880-94] I GIVE UP SMOKING 199 

which fine bronzes and choice bits of Martinware soon found 
their place. It fortunately happened that a well-known 
furniture dealer in Holborn sold off his stock just after we 
took possession of our house, and I spent 2,000 at the 
sale, on tables, and cabinets, and china. And I began 
to buy fine engravings, and the books for which hitherto 
I had had no room. 

This story of my life would not be complete if I omitted 
a fortunate incident which happened about this date, the 
suggestion by my friend Sir William Jenner that I should 
give up the habit of smoking. I had learned to smoke 
when I was thirteen years old at a wretched boarding school 
at Calais, from which I was brought back in a very few 
weeks to my better surroundings at George Yard. From 
the time I was eighteen I was a constant smoker, and when 
I came to the hard work of a leader much engaged in Court I 
found the evil of the habit. I was indeed quite moderate in 
its indulgence. But it is impossible for the habitual smoker 
to avoid occasional excess. A long public dinner ; the in- 
teresting talk in the smoking-room after a political meeting ; 
the evening spent in the smoking-room of the House of Com- 
mons to escape the terrors of a Scotch debate, all these 
were occasions of excess which sent me into Court the next 
morning with less clearness of brain and less steadiness of 
nerve than I should have had. But this was not very 
frequent, and I think I should have continued the habit 
had not Sir William Jenner said to me one day, " You 
should not smoke so much." 

" Do you mean," said I, " that I ought to give up smoking 
altogether ? " 

" Well," he said, " if you could give it up it would be a 
good thing for you." 

I told him that I should be ashamed of myself if I had a 
habit I could not give up at five minutes' notice ; and since 
that conversation I have never smoked. For a few weeks 
I suffered severely, but at the end of a couple of months 
the desire had entirely passed away, and I have never felt 
the least inclination to resume the habit. 


The gain was great and immediate. I had no more dull 
and ineffective mornings. I always had the feeling that 
the mental and physical machine was working steadily 
and up to its normal power, and the comfort of that feeling 
can hardly be overstated. It was a fortunate day for me 
when I freed myself from the expensive and mischievous 

I do not propose to attempt any detailed narrative of 
my domestic life during the years of my active work in 
Parliament. It was a happy life and not very eventful. 
A son was born to us in 1883, and a couple of years later 
another came, somewhat prematurely, and lived only a few 
hours. My boy and girl were both delicate, and our fear 
lest they should have inherited their mother's ailment made 
us very anxious, but two years at an excellent boarding 
school at Hastings did for the boy just what my own stay 
at Edmonton had done for me thirty-five years before, and 
my daughter gained the same benefit from a longer stay 
at a very good school at Folkestone. My income went on 
increasing ; we had a delightful house and ample means, 
and the only drawback to our happiness was that my dear 
wife's health, which had never been very strong, failed 
sadly after the birth of our second child, and during ten 
years of our stay at Russell Square prevented her full 
enjoyment of the society pleasures which at Court and at 
the great houses of the West End were now very freely 
offered to us. 

We were always very fond of boating, and in 1884 I took 
a house for some weeks of the autumn on the river bank at 
Hampton. The following year we were at Sunbury ; and 
in 1886 I rented the Vicarage at Staines. We found the 
river there so delightful that for the next three years we 
spent some weeks at a house a little below the bridge, 
and as wealth increased I began to think of buying a country 
house, and was much tempted by a beautifully situated 
house at Priest Hill which my old friend Virgo Buckland 
had built, but had not lived to occupy. But it was rather 
inconvenient for the railway, and again I had a great piece 

i88o-94] THORNCOTE 201 

of good fortune. While Priest Hill was still under discussion 
I saw an advertisement of the sale by auction of Thorncote, 
a house which stood in large grounds and could hardly be 
seen from the river, but about which I had always had 
some curiosity. The auction never took place. My wife 
and I went down one Saturday afternoon, and fell in love 
with the place, and by the following Wednesday the pur- 
chase was completed, and I found myself the possessor of 
the most delightful home that could be imagined. About 
twenty years earlier a man who expected that at an old 
aunt's death he would inherit her large fortune, bought the 
land, and spent upon the building of the house more than the 
6,500 which I gave for the whole property. The aunt 
died and had left her money to somebody else, so he could not 
afford to live there, and the place was empty for some years. 
Then Dr. Yeo of King's College, London, bought it and 
lived there until after his wife's death he sold it to me. 

There were eight acres of pleasant grounds, on the 
preferable side of the river, the towpath side ; a convenient 
and roomy house ; a fine walled garden, tennis and croquet 
lawns, good stabling and cowhouses, a private landing-stage, 
and a capital boat-house in which the boats were stored 
in winter, and which made a very pleasant lounge in the 
summer. Soon after I took possession I had the oppor- 
tunity of buying a strip of frontage on the opposite bank, 
and this completely secured our privacy. 

For very nearly twenty years this was our pleasant 
country home, and we thoroughly enjoyed it. The children 
grew up there. My eldest boy passed from Hastings to 
the famous Dr. Tabor's School at Cheam, and then to Eton, 
where he was a wet-bob, and one year coxed Macnaghten's 
boat on the Fourth of June. Then he went to Trinity 
Hall. He revived the Staines Regatta, which had formerly 
been a great rowing function, but had been allowed to drop, 
and as secretary restored it to great success. For several 
years a Trinity Hall crew rowed in the fours and pairs. We 
put them up at Thorncote, with Trevor Jones their coach, 
and there was high festival in house and gardens when 


they brought back their prizes, and their days of qualified 
abstinence were over. Fernie, Steele, Dixon, Croft, the 
Guinesses, Looney Bullard what dear good fellows they 
were ! how pleasant it is twenty years later to remember 
those happy days ! 

The boating was very useful to me. Every year my dear 
old friend George Ryan, of the London Rowing Club, who 
rowed eight years at Henley, one of the finest oars ever seen 
there, and one of the kindest, most generous and unselfish 
men I ever knew, used to come and spend some weeks 
with us. When I could get the whole day we sculled together 
down to Sunbury or up to Surley Hall, or if I could not get 
down from town until the afternoon we would go to Chertsey 
or up as far as the Angler's Rest for a little exercise. And 
my son would be there to take the sculls if his father was 
tired. Or if I preferred to be lazy my wife and daughter, 
who were both expert with the punt pole, would take me on 
the river, which for four days in the week was so quiet that 
one would hardly think it a public highway. 

I am speaking of my pleasures at Staines, so it would be 
affectation to omit one of the greatest. That was the build- 
ing of St. Peter's Church. When I bought Thorncote, the 
only place of Church of England worship within a mile of 
the house was a very uncomfortable iron building, too hot 
in summer and much too cold in winter, in the Edgell Road. 
Some one suggested that a church should be built, and a 
subscription list was opened. Two or three sums of 500 
each were promised, but after that only small amounts were 
talked of, and it was clear there would be much difficulty 
in raising the required sum. A little higher up the river 
than Thorncote there was a charming site, where a row of 
fine elms stood along the river-side of a field which it was 
proposed to let in building plots. I was afraid these trees 
would be cut down, so I told my neighbours that if they 
would buy the site I would build a church upon it. The 
site was secured, and I employed Mr. George Fellowes Prynne, 
the son of my dear old friend and supporter at Plymouth, 
the famous Vicar of St. Peter's there, to design the church 

1880-94] ST. PETER'S CHURCH 203 

and superintend its construction, Dr. Temple, then Bishop 
of London, came down to the laying of the foundation-stone 
by my wife on July 22nd, 1893, and the church was conse- 
crated a year later. It has been a great happiness to me 
and mine. 

It is said, I believe truly, to be a beautiful church. 
Except for a necessary, but not very rigid, limitation of 
cost, the architect had practically a free hand. He was 
working under a committee of one, who did not interfere. 
I state the cost, because I have seen exaggerated statements 
as to this, and I should like to encourage others to give 
themselves the same privilege which I have enjoyed. 

The structure cost 8,000, of which the foundations in a 
gravel soil near the river bank accounted for 1,400 ; the 
heating, lighting, and choir furniture and seating and archi- 
tect's fees came to 917. The organ built by Hele of Ply- 
mouth cost 1,000 ; the peal of eight bells 545 ; and the 
stained glass windows, designed by the architect's brother, 
Mr. Edward Prynne, which have been added from time to 
time, and which are, I think, as beautiful as any modern glass 
I have ever seen, represent another 1,850 ; making a total 
of less thani2,50o. I have never spent money which brought 
back so rich a reward to myself. For twenty-three years 
I have worshipped God in this church, which He gave me 
the means and the will to erect to His service. For fourteen 
years I have been one of the churchwardens and have read 
the lessons at the Sunday services. I hope my experience 
may lead men whom God has entrusted with wealth to 
make a thank-offering in this way. They may not often 
have the opportunity which was given to me of building a 
church close to my own home and enjoying its services 
myself, but wherever they build one they will find great 
happiness in thinking of its existence and its usefulness, 




THE motion for carrying on Bills from one session to 
another was not my only attempt to be of use in parliamen- 
tary work in 1882. In the previous autumn the Associated 
Chambers of Commerce had held a very successful meeting 
at Plymouth. At that meeting it was decided to introduce 
a Bankruptcy Bill, and after carefully going over the draft 
Bill with Mr. Barran, the Member for Leeds, I added my 
name as one of the proposers. Mine was the only Conserva- 
tive name ; the other three were Mr. Norwood of Hull, 
Mr. Monk of Gloucester, and Mr. Barran. It was, I believe, 
a very good Bill. It represented the considered experience 
and opinion of the Associated Chambers of Commerce, and 
my three colleagues were all men of large commercial 
experience. Its history was a curious one. No member 
on either side put down his name to oppose the second 
reading, so one night, rather late, the Bill came on. But 
Mr. Chamberlain, then President of the Board of Trade, 
moved that the debate be adjourned. We divided against 
the Government, and although all the Members of the 
Government in attendance voted for Mr. Chamberlain's 
motion, fourteen Liberals voted against them, and we had 
a majority. Upon that Mr. Chamberlain put down a 
blocking motion to prevent the Bill going into Committee, 
and told Mr. Barran he would only take the block off if he 
received a promise that the Bill should not be proceeded 
with until the Bankruptcy Bill he himself was going to 
introduce should be before the House of Commons. Mr. 
Barran gave the promise, and no Government Bill was 



introduced that session. Indeed the year was strangely 
unproductive of domestic legislation, considering that it 
was the third session of a Parliament with regard to whose 
legislative activities great promises had been made. There 
was but one measure of considerable importance passed with 
reference to the interests of England, and that was a measure 
of much usefulness dealing with the difficult subject of 
settled lands, and for that the country was indebted not 
to the Government but to the ex-Lord Chancellor, Lord 
Cairns. I think almost the only measure which the Govern- 
ment could claim to have originated and passed was an 
Act to allow the Post Office to issue reply-postcards. 

That autumn we had a curious instance of our leader's 
want of alertness. 

On October 24th, 1882, Mr. Gladstone gave notice that 
on the following Thursday he would move a vote of thanks 
to the commanders, officers, and men of Her Majesty's Forces 
in Egypt. When the terms of the motion were published 
on the Thursday morning I noticed they contained words 
which described the operations which had taken place in 
Egypt as " the suppression of the military rebellion against 
the authority of His Highness the Khedive." 

These were very disputable words, as they carried with 
them an indorsement of the policy of the Government which 
the Opposition and a great many of the Radicals were not 
willing to give. I saw Henry de Worms, and together we 
looked at the precedents, and found that in 1840, 1858, 1879, 
and in 1881 the neutral expression " military operations " 
had been used. I tried to see Sir Stafford Northcote, and, 
failing in that, wrote to him suggesting that if an amend- 
ment were proposed substituting the accustomed words the 
Government must give way, that then there would be an 
unanimous vote and at the same time a distinct party 
success. He sent back word that he thought the suggestion 
a good one ; that he should net move an amendment him- 
self, but would be glad if the point were raised. So we went 
down to the House looking forward to a useful evening. 
Mr. Gladstone made a brilliant speech, and Sir Stafford 


Northcote sat as usual as if mesmerised. He sat as Cecil 
Raikes had described him, " with the hands of perplexity 
travelling up and down the sleeves of irresolution." 

Then he got up and in his very first sentence expressed 
his hope that the graceful act which the House was asked 
to perform would not be marred by any want of unanimity. 
There were two divisions with seventeen and twenty-five 
Irishmen in the " No " Lobby ; and the most fortunate 
opportunity was absolutely thrown away. 

The following year the labours of the Government were 
much more fruitful. With constant assistance from the 
Conservative side of the House they passed a good Bank- 
ruptcy Bill, a Patents Bill, and a very valuable Corrupt 
Practices Bill. The last named of these measures had the 
advantage of being in the hands of an Attorney-General who 
was deservedly in favour with all political parties. Sir 
Henry James was a man of great ability and of high character, 
and did honour to himself and his profession when four 
years later he refused its greatest prize, the Lord Chancellor- 
ship of England, rather than assist in setting up a Home Rule 
Government in Ireland. As an advocate he was skilful but 
not very courageous, and for fear of losing a case he often 
settled it when with a little more energy and persistence he 
might have won. But his handsome person, his suave and 
dignified eloquence, and his genial manners, made him a 
personal favourite in the Courts and in the House of Com- 
mons ; and this greatly helped him in the difficult task of 
piloting the Corrupt Practices Bill through Committee. 

He was assisted by the indignation felt by honest men 
of all parties at the flagrant and widespread corruption on 
both sides which was known to have influenced the elections 
of 1880. Of the extent of this corruption the election 
petitions which were tried gave only imperfect evidence. In 
some of the worst cases the defeated party did not dare 
to petition because of their own misdeeds. In others they 
were afraid to do so although their own hands were clean 
from bribery at this election ; they knew that any investi- 
gation into the electoral history of the borough would result 


in its disfranchisement because of the corruption which had 
taken place in past times. And sometimes when petitions 
had been presented there were negotiations between the 
Party Whips, and a petition which threatened a Liberal 
seat was quietly withdrawn and the attack on a Conserva- 
tive seat elsewhere was at the same time abandoned. Again 
where a petition actually came on for trial, directly it became 
clear the seat could not be defended the attempt was 
abandoned, and it became the object of both parties to 
conceal from the judges the real extent of the corruption. 
At the meeting of my constituents at the Plymouth 
Guildhall in January 1883, speaking of Sir Henry James* 
Bill which had been introduced in the session of 1882, but 
not then proceeded with, and was now about to be reintro- 
duced and pressed forward, I said I should propose three 
amendments, two of which were intended to meet the evils 
I have just stated. I prepared a set of eight clauses which 
provided that if after a parliamentary election a certain 
number of electors were to present a petition alleging that 
there had been corrupt practices, a Commissioner should be 
sent down to inquire into the facts with power to summon 
witnesses and call for documents. This proposal had in 
substance been proposed by Mr. Disraeli many years before. 
When the Bill was in Committee my motion to insert these 
clauses was seconded by my dear friend Robert Reid (since 
then Attorney-General and Lord Chancellor, Earl Lore- 
burn), an able lawyer, and a politician of independent thought 
and unflinching courage ; one of the most high-minded, 
generous, and unselfish of men. It seems strange to me to 
call him Robert ; he was affectionately known as " Bob 
Reid " by all his brethren of the Bar. The clauses were 
not accepted by the Government. They did not, of course, 
come up for discussion until the entire Bill as proposed by 
the Government had been considered, and it would have 
been unreasonable and useless to press them. The pro- 
visions of this valuable measure, and the great enlargement 
of the constituencies which has since taken place, have done 
much to remedy the evils they were intended to meet. 


I was more fortunate in the other two important amend- 
ments which I proposed, and which were accepted, one in 
full and the other in part, by the Attorney-General. One 
was my proposal that from the time the Corrupt Practices 
Act became law no investigation on any election petition 
should go back to anything before that date. I had 
said to my constituents, 

We know of boroughs in this country where there are, 
on both sides of political parties, earnest and resolute men, 
determined, as far as may be, to make elections pure, 
but who yet are fettered by the difficulty of the past 
history of their borough. Let us draw a line, and let us 
start a fresh system, and then I believe we shall find that 
this difficulty being got out of the way, some of those 
boroughs whose electoral history has not been pure will 
be for the future places where parliamentary elections will 
be properly and purely conducted. 

This was accepted, and my forecast has been fully 

My other proposal was to give the judges an equitable 
power of refusing to unseat a member if they found that 
the corrupt practice proved was a single act, entirely con- 
trary to his instructions and efforts, and that it did not affect 
the result of the election. I was thinking of my own 
experience at Southwark, where my political career might 
have been marred, and the wishes of a great constituency 
defeated, because a member of my committee in the excite- 
ment of the polling day had given a silk handkerchief and 
half a crown to a voter. 

Sir Henry James accepted the clause so far as treating 
was concerned, but, to my lasting regret, refused to allow 
the equitable relief in a case of bribery. 

While Sir Henry James gained strength for the Govern- 
ment and credit for himself by the passing of this measure, 
the fate of Mr. Chamberlain was very different. He did 
indeed pass a Bankruptcy Bill which excited little con- 
troversy, and was only of political interest in the fact that 
when under its provisions many appointments had to be; 


made to the comfortable and profitable post of Official 
Receiver, most of these appointments were bestowed on 
solicitors who had been election agents on the Liberal side 
or otherwise useful to that party. But another subject 
had come to the front with which as President of the Board 
of Trade it was his business to deal. People were not greatly 
interested in law reform, but the public mind had been 
much excited by the frequence of the loss at sea of our 
merchant ships. That the laws relating to Merchant Ship- 
ping required amendment was quite clear. 

In the year 1876 the Conservative Government had 
brought forward a Bill for the amendment of the law 
relating to Maritime Contracts, which was prevented from 
passing in great measure through the success of certain 
efforts at obstruction in which Mr. Chamberlain, who had 
entered the House of Commons two years before, took an 
active part. 

But in 1883 Mr. Chamberlain determined to try his hand 
at a measure. He began by making a strange but char- 
acteristic mistake. In November 1883 he issued a circular 
from the Board of Trade which was a wanton and unjust 
attack upon the body of shipowners of this country. It 
stated that the loss of life had been increasing ; and it said 
that this loss of life arose in a great degree from prevent- 
able causes with which the Bill to be proposed would have 
to deal. It was not a fact that the loss of life had been 
increasing. The year 1881-2 was a year during which there 
was a terrible loss of life, especially among fishermen. Very 
nearly 600 fishermen lost their lives in the gales of 1881, 
and that number raised very largely the average of the loss 
upon merchant shipping services. Even raised by that 
loss of fishing-boats the loss during that year was less than 
the average of the years before ; and although this dis- 
astrous loss of life in fishing-boats was brought in to swell 
the statistics to be used in support of legislation, the Bill 
was to have no application to fishing-boats. 

But between November 1883 and February 1884 no 
opportunity was lost of exciting the public mind against 


the shipowners, who were denounced in the speeches of the 
President of the Board of Trade as men who were in the 
pursuit of unholy gains ; and then on February 6th the Bill 
was introduced and read a first time. It was full of serious 
difficulties. It provided that any person who was interested 
in the insurance of a vessel should have the right of opening 
the question whether that vessel was over-insured or not 
when the insurance was claimed, but curiously enough it 
left out all reference to the insurance of cargo, although 
there was reason for believing that the loss of life happening 
either intentionally or through wanton carelessness hap- 
pened more often from the over-insurance of cargo than 
the over-insurance of the hull. It proposed to abolish the 
law of limited liability in the case of companies owning 
merchant-vessels, making all the members of the company 
liable if any loss occurred to the full extent of their fortunes. 
And it abolished compulsory pilotage ; which seemed an 
odd way of saving seamen's lives. 

Three months passed before the Bill was put down for 
second reading. During that time negotiations had taken 
place between the shipowners, who absolutely refused to meet 
Mr. Chamberlain, and Sir Farrer Herschell, the Solicitor- 
General, who was called in to represent the Board of 
Trade. In these discussions the Bill was pulled all to 
pieces. The section abolishing compulsory pilotage was 
given up. The section abolishing limited liability was given 
up. The Bill was brought back to such a form that it was 
not so good a Bill for the benefit of the seamen as the Con- 
servative Maritime Contracts Bill of 1876 would have been. 

On May I7th Mr. Chamberlain moved the second reading 
of his attenuated Bill. He made an extraordinary speech. 
It began between 6 and 7 o'clock and lasted within a few 
minutes of four hours, and there were hardly twenty sen- 
tences of it which were directly relevant to the proposals he 
was putting forward. 

I stayed there listening to the whole speech and taking 
notes of it, but of course there was no time for debate that 
night, and after one or two short speeches I moved the 


adjournment of the debate. Week after week went by and 
the Bill was not again heard of. At last, about June 2oth, I 
asked Mr. Gladstone when the Merchant Shipping Bill would 
be put down again for discussion. His answer was that he 
had received no communication from the right honourable 
gentleman in charge of the Bill which led him to think it 
desirable to fix the date for the resumed debate. The Bill 
was never again put down for second reading. It was put 
down on July Qth, but only for the purpose of being with- 

I do not know the explanation of these strange proceed- 
ings. It may be that Mr. Gladstone, seeing the unfortunate 
position into which matters had drifted, interfered and 
compelled the abandonment of the Bill. It may be that 
Mr. Chamberlain himself, hurt by being excluded from the 
negotiations on his own measure, resolved in May to carry 
it no further, and took the opportunity of making a long 
speech to which no reply would be possible. But in any case 
the incident was a severe blow to his parliamentary posi- 
tion, and did not tend to improve the relations between him 
and the Prime Minister. They were never cordial and 
never could be. In 1880 Mr. Chamberlain and Sir Charles 
Dilke were admitted to office with great reluctance on the 
part of the Queen, and with hesitation and dislike on the 
part of Mr. Gladstone. The Queen could not forget that 
Sir Charles had made in 1872 a frankly Republican speech, 
and Mr. Gladstone could not easily forgive the man who 
had publicly declared that his election manifesto of 1874 
was " the meanest public document that had ever in like 
circumstances proceeded from the pen of a statesman of 
the first rank." l 

To me the most interesting figures in the House of Com- 
mons during that Parliament were Mr. Chamberlain and 
Lord Randolph Churchill. Each looked forward to be- 
coming the leader of his party in the House of Commons ; 
the one by succeeding Mr. Gladstone, the other by supplant- 
ing Sir Stafford Northcote. Each knew himself to possess 

i Article by Mr. Chamberlain in Fortnightly Review, October 1874. 


qualities which justified the ambition. Joseph Chamberlain 
was one of the most remarkable men the middle class of 
English society ever produced. When at the age of forty- 
three he entered the Cabinet he had only been four years in 
Parliament and had had no official training. But his life 
had been spent in useful public work at Birmingham ; and 
the position which there he had deserved and obtained 
gave him an unassailable seat in the House of Commons, 
and the unquestioned leadership of the advanced Radical 
party. He had an attractive personality. In face he was 
very like the portraits of William Pitt. The keen eager eyes 
and thin closely compressed lips told of energy and firmness. 
His voice was clear and strong, his words well chosen, his 
gestures free but not extravagant. 

He and Sir William Harcourt did much to spoil House 
of Commons speaking by their too constant use of the 
tu-quoque argument and their abounding quotation from old 
speeches of their opponents. The greater masters of debate, 
Disraeli, Gladstone, Balfour, and Asquith have very rarely 
used this weapon. But when a capable man condescends 
to employ it it is very formidable. For thirty years Mr. 
Chamberlain was unquestionably one of the foremost 
debaters in the House. In language and in manner he was 
always respectful to his chief, but he was a somewhat trouble- 
some colleague. Before the Government was a year old 
he and Mr. Bright, both Cabinet Ministers, absented them- 
selves from an important division on our policy in the 
Transvaal. Almost at the same time, when disorder in 
Ireland was rapidly increasing, they successfully opposed 
the policy of Mr. Gladstone, who wished to strengthen the 
existing law but to retain trial by jury, and they insisted on 
the suspension of the Habeas Corpus Act. The admission of 
Sir Charles Dilke to the Cabinet, which the Prime Minister 
practically forced upon the Queen in December 1882, 
strengthened Mr. Chamberlain's position, and he afterwards 
adopted a tone of independence in his public speeches which 
Mr. Gladstone strongly disapproved. In 1883 he made a 
speech at Birmingham which gave the Prime Minister much 


concern, and a letter of remonstrance had little effect; 
Speaking of the Birmingham speech Mr. Gladstone wrote 
to Sir Henry Ponsonby, 

I consider the offence does not consist in holding certain 
opinions, of which in my judgement the political force and 
effect are greatly exaggerated, but in the attitude assumed 
and the tone and colour given to the speech. 1 

The young leader was treading on the heels of the old 
one and not unwilling to trip him up, but not yet finding the 
time quite ripe for his own supremacy. 

On the Conservative side there was something of the same 
position, and in the domestic controversies of the party I, 
who had been a member of the Council of the National 
Union of Conservative Associations ever since its founda- 
tion in 1867, tk an active part. 

Lord Randolph Churchill was a strange creature, and 
ill-equipped for the great task which he set himself when 
he resolved to become the leader of the Tory party. 
His life for five and twenty years was idle and frivolous. 
Then the Prince of Wales quarrelled with Lord Blandford, 
and it was understood that the Marquis must not be asked 
where the Prince was likely to be present. Lord Randolph 
took up his brother's side in the quarrel, and the doors of 
London society were for some years closed against him. It 
fortunately happened that his father became Lord- Lieutenant 
in Ireland, and four years spent there as a sort of unofficial 
private secretary gave him a close and sympathetic know- 
ledge of the Irish people. Then the rout of the Conserva- 
tive party and the fall of the Ministry in 1880 opened to 
him the great game of politics, and he plunged with delight 
into the pleasures of a free-handed and irresponsible 

He had little knowledge of literature and none of science, 
no familiarity with political history, and very slight 
acquaintance with foreign affairs. But he had, when in 
good humour, an all-conquering charm of manner. His 

1 Morley's Life of Gladstone, ch. iii, p. 13. 


talk, like his speech, sparkled with apt and incisive phrases. 
He could be the most delightful of companions. But his 
temper was fickle as April and stormy as October. His friend- 
ship and his emnity were always in extremes. And no one 
could guess how soon he would pass from one to the other. 
It is truly said in Winston Churchill's brilliant life of his 
father, one of the best political biographies in our language, 

No one could tell what he would do, or by what motive, 
lofty or trivial, of conviction or caprice, of irritation or self- 
sacrifice he would be governed. 1 

In 1882, by the casting vote of Lord Percy, whom he 
afterwards treated with ungrateful discourtesy, Lord Ran- 
dolph was co-opted as a member of the Council of the 
National Union, and it soon appeared that he had resolved 
to try to obtain for himself and his group of followers the 
entire control of all the activities of the Union. He pro- 
posed to get rid of the Central Committee, privately ap- 
pointed by the leaders of the party, which at that time 
dealt with the selection of candidates for Parliament and 
the administration of party funds. These matters, as well 
as the direction and declaration of the party policy, were, 
according to his scheme, to be controlled by the committee 
elected at the annual meeting of delegates of the Conserva- 
tive Associations which were affiliated to the National 
Union. To me and to most of those who had like myself 
worked on the Council for fifteen years the proposal seemed 
mischievous and even absurd. A conference so constituted 
and meeting only once a year was quite unfit to determine 
questions of policy, while a committee so elected could not 
safely be entrusted with the management of party funds 
privately contributed, or the settlement of the personal 
questions which arise at every election and require the most 
delicate and confidential treatment. 

At the Birmingham Conference in October 1883 Lord 
Randolph, carrying out an arrangement he had made with 

1 Lord Randolph Churchill, p. 129. 


Gorst and Sir Henry Wolff, declared war against the Central 
Committee, and advocated the placing of all power and 
finance in the hands of the Council of the National Union. 
His speech was much cheered, and there was the appear- 
ance of a triumph in the passing without a division of a 
perfectly innocuous resolution directing the Council to take 
steps to secure for the National Union " its legitimate 
influence in the party organisation." The Conference voted 
for the resolution, not the speech, and there was no reason 
for any one to vote against it. But when it came to the 
election of the Council the conspirators were not successful. 
Gorst, writing the next day, described Lord Randolph as 
carrying all before him by a capital speech ; but added : 

The election, however, went off badly. Clarke, Chaplin, 
Claud Hamilton, and a lot of other undesirable men got 
elected, and it will require the greatest care and skill in 
the selection and election of the twelve co-opted members 
to secure us the necessary working majority. 1 

This working majority was not secured. In February 
Lord Percy resigned the Chairmanship of the Council, 
Lord Randolph Churchill and Mr. Henry Chaplin were 
proposed for the office, and it was only by a majority of 2 
(17 to 15) that Lord Randolph was elected. Then followed 
a stormy eight months of Resolutions and Reports and Com- 
mittees and Conferences, with four very important divisions 
in the Council. In the first two of these Lord Randolph 
was successful, by 19 to 14, and 17 to 13, but in June the 
balance had shifted. Earl Percy moved that the Annual 
Conference should be held at Sheffield and as soon as 
possible. Notwithstanding a violent resistance by Lord 
Randolph and his party, this was carried by 19 to 17. A 
fortnight later an attempt was made to postpone the Con- 
ference. Great efforts had been made to bring up voters 
to support this proposal, but when the vote was taken it 
was rejected by 19 to 18. I have no record of the names 
of those voting in an important division which took place 

1 The Fourth Party, by Harold Gorst, p. 258. 


in May, when it was resolved by 17 to 13, in spite of Lord 
Randolph's opposition, to accept a suggestion of Mr. Row- 
land Winn, the chief Conservative Whip, that a few of the 
members of the Council should be deputed to confer with 
the Central Committee. Lord Randolph and Gorst refused 
to serve on the deputation, and Maclean, the mover, Mr. 
Henry Chaplin, Lord Claud Hamilton, Mr. William Houlds- 
worth, and I had an interview with Mr. Edward Stanhope, 
Lord Henniker, Mr. Arthur Balfour, and Mr. Whitley, who 
then constituted the Central Committee. 

Upon the passing of this motion Lord Randolph in a fit 
of temper resigned the chairmanship of the Council, sent 
paragraphs to the newspapers foreshadowing his withdrawal 
from political life, and drafted a long letter to his chairman 
at Birmingham relinquishing his candidature for that 
borough. The letter was never sent. He repented of 
his haste, withdrew his resignation, and made vigorous 
preparation for the meeting at Sheffield. Meanwhile the 
negotiations with the Central Committee resulted in a 
complete arrangement, which was unanimously confirmed by 
the Council on June 24th. Lord Randolph was profoundly 
dissatisfied with this settlement, and determined to appeal 
to the Sheffield Conference to change completely the 
membership of the Council by expelling from it all the 
members who had acted together in thwarting his plans. 
On July 2 1st he sent out to all the delegates a list of the 
gentlemen, thirty in number, " proposed by Lord Randolph 
Churchill for election to the Council of the National Union/' 
With it was a lithographed letter from himself. He said : 

The composition of a representative powerful ; and inde- 
pendent Council has occupied my most anxious attention, 
and I most earnestly trust that the subjoined list may 
meet with your approval and receive your support. 

On the 23rd Lord Salisbury spoke at a large meeting at 
Sheffield upon the action of the House of Lords with regard 
to parliamentary reform. I made a speech at that meet- 
ing. Lord Randolph absented himself* So did Gorst and 


Forwood, who were busy at the Victoria Hotel organising 
victory for the next day. 

Four hundred and fifty delegates were present at the 
conference. It was a good straight fight. Lord Randolph 
exhorted them to vote for his list, and so clear away from 
the Council those who obstructed him. I reminded them 
that the men he desired to ostracise had worked for the 
Conservative party, in and through the National Union, 
for years before he had taken part in political work. So 
amid cheers and counter-cheers we went to the voting. 

Lord Randolph's name was on both lists, and when the 
numbers were announced he stood first with 346 votes. 
Forwood, a new candidate, widely and deservedly popular 
in the north of England, and Colonel Burnaby, the second 
candidate for Birmingham, and just then a popular idol, 
were second and third with 298 and 293 votes. But the 
next four names were the important ones, and their position 
on the list showed that the conspirators had failed. They 
were : Clarke, 289 ; Chaplin, 271 ; Gorst, 264 ; Wolff, 261. l 
Twenty-two were elected from Lord Randolph's list, and 
nineteen from Earl Percy's : some names had appeared on 
both. Three were elected who had not been on either. These 
were : SirM. Hicks-Beach, 212 ; Colonel King-Harman, 212 ; 
and Mr. Arthur Balfour, 186. Lord Randolph's friends 
went away shouting at their apparent victory. Most of 
us came back to London by the 6.25 North-Eastern train, 
and at Rugby we stayed for a few minutes, and I met 
Sir Henry Wolff. " Well, we have beaten you," he said. 
"Not a bit of it," I replied. "You go carefully over the 
names and numbers to-morrow morning, and you will see 
they tell a different story." 

The next day Lord Randolph surrendered. Sir Michael 
Hicks-Beach became chairman of the National Union, which 
reverted to the functions it had so successfully exercised, 
and Lord Randolph was not seen there again. 

Whether the capitulation was prudent or unwise it had 

1 A curiously inaccurate statement as to this will be found in the Life 
of Lord Randolph Churchill, ch. i, p. 355, and The Fourth Party, p. 300. 


one very definite and important result. It destroyed the 
Fourth party. Gorst was not in town and was not in any 
way consulted. He strongly resented the breach of an 
express agreement which had been made when he risked his 
political future by joining in this campaign that no step 
should be taken without his approval. And he refused 
to attend the dinner which Lord Salisbury gave to the 
new Council to show that all dissensions were now at 
an end. 

During these two years of conflict, and indeed during the 
whole of his political life, my friendship with Lord Randolph, 
which had begun at Woodstock in 1874, was never inter- 
rupted. I dined with him at his club, and he dined with 
me at the Garrick. Sometimes he talked to me about what 
he intended to do in the House, and once at least, at his 
request, I intervened in debate in order to draw Mr. Childers 
and give him the opportunity of reply. 

And it was not long after the stormy fight at Sheffield 
that he asked me to come to Birmingham and make a couple 
of speeches for him. One was at a dinner of the local Con- 
servative association, and the other on the following day 
was at Aston Park. It had been arranged to hold a great 
meeting at the Skating Rink there, and to show that all 
differences had passed away Sir Stafford Northcote had 
promised to make the principal speech. Sir Stafford and a 
large party of Members of Parliament arrived at the Park 
at the appointed time. But the friends of Mr. Chamberlain 
had been busy. Hundreds of forged tickets had been 
printed and used without detection. But this was not 
enough. A wagon with a heavy piece of timber was brought 
to the part of the Park wall nearest to the Skating Rink, 
and shortly before the time fixed for the meeting the timber 
was used as a battering-ram, the wall was broken down, and a 
crowd of roughs rushed through the gap and took possession 
of the Rink. When we reached the Park we heard that the 
large hall was in the hands of the mob, who were breaking 
up the chairs (Jim Lowther said they were engaged in the 
redistribution of seats), and that it would be dangerous for 

1882-4] ASTON PARK 219 

our party to try to reach the platform. But Sir Stafford 
insisted on making the attempt. There was a smaller hall 
near the chief entrance to the Park, and it was arranged 
that this should be filled by our friends and the doors strongly 
guarded, and that I should start a meeting there and go 
on speaking until we heard how the Skating Rink party had 
fared. It was not a very pleasant task, but I did not have 
to speak long. Presently shouting was heard, and Sir 
Stafford, with a broken hat, and his habitual calm a little 
disturbed, was brought back through the crowd and with 
some difficulty guarded from personal violence. He came 
on the platform of the small hall, made an excellent speech, 
and as the reporters had been told of our arrangements 
the meeting was fully reported. I think the blackguardism 
of our opponents, the riot at the Skating Rink, and our 
subsequent meeting, did our cause far more good than we 
should have had from an undisturbed demonstration at the 

I was always fond of financial questions, and in 1884 I 
had provoked a somewhat violent controversy by attacking 
in a speech at Mount Edgcumbe the Financial Reform 
Almanack, then issued each year by the powerful Financial 
Association of Liverpool. I called it " a magazine of lies." 
When the phrase was resented, I quoted from the Almanack 
twenty-two specific statements, every one of which was 

Between the date of the Sheffield Conference and that 
of the Aston Park riot I went to the annual meeting of 
the Conservative association at Plymouth, and there 
challenged upon this question of national finance the most 
doughty of all combatants. 

The Prime Minister had, three weeks earlier, on Sep- 
tember ist, made a speech to his constituents which 
contained the following passage: 

I will give you with the utmost exactness a comparative 
statement which it is quite impossible for them [the Tories] 
to shake, and which I will convey to you in no very great 


number of words, avoiding all detail, lumping all large sums 
of money, and making use of round numbers for the sake 
of greater simplicity and intelligibility. For the last four 
years of the late Government the gross expenditure of the 
country was 329,000,000 ; in the last four years of the 
present Government do not be alarmed the expenditure 
of the country has been 342,000,000 ; that is, apparently, 
in comparing the two Governments, our account is 
13,000,000 to the bad. Let us look a little further into 
the matter. I must first of all deduct the expense of collec- 
tion. You know we have vast establishments connected 
with post-offices, telegraphs, and so forth. To charge 
them to taxation would be absurd. I do not therefore take 
the expense of collection, and the two sums then would be 
that for the late Government 297! millions, and that 
for the present Government 3o6| millions. There are still 
9 J millions remaining to the bad against us ; but I go further, 
and I deduct the debt we have paid off, because undoubtedly 
what you spend in the payment of debt ought not to be 
reckoned as expenditure. We have paid, as I have told 
you, 25 millions of debt against n millions ; and conse- 
quently, when we bring this into account, we are no longer 
to the bad, but are to the good jby the amount of 4!- 

A little later on in the speech he again said, " So far I 
have been dealing with matters of fact, and no man can 
shake one of the figures I have laid before you." 

At my meeting at Plymouth on September 22nd I quoted 
that statement and declared that every figure in it was 

As I hoped and expected a Plymouth Radical sent the full 
report of my speech to Mr. Gladstone. He replied that 
he was prepared to stand by the figures he had used. I 
returned to the attack in a later speech, and the Prime 
Minister then said that he believed his figures might be 
relied upon, and that I did not appear able to comprehend 
the system on which the finances of the country were 

The fact was that the figures were not really Mr. Glad- 
stone's at all. They had been supplied to him by a young 

1882-4] FINANCE 221 

official in the Post Office through Mr. Fawcett, who was then 
Postmaster-General, and the Prime Minister had incau- 
tiously used them without examination. 

The opportunity of encountering the great financier on 
the field where he had been so long supreme was not to be 
lost. So as soon as Parliament reassembled I wrote to 
Mr. Gladstone, saying that unless he suggested another con- 
venient opportunity I would move a formal addition to the 
Address and so secure a discussion. He replied in a letter 
which is so admirable an example of his epistolary style, 
with its reservations and qualifications, that I think it is 
worth quoting in full. 

October 25th, 1884. 


I thank you for your courteous note, but I am 
altogether unable to concur in the arrangement you 
suggest, and I even hope you will substitute some other 
for it. 

To move an amendment to the Address for the purpose 
of introducing a discussion which has for its aim to settle 
a difference of opinion, or of figures, between two members, 
as to retrospective finance in short, to use the Queen's 
Speech and the Answer to it as an occasion parallel to the 
Friday motion of Supply, would be a proceeding (in my 
view) as inconvenient and as little seemly as it would be 

The Committee of Supply will shortly have to be set up, 
and that, with all the usual opportunities, will become at 
once available when the House has dealt with the Franchise 
Bill, assuming that it shares the view of the Government 
as to the particular method of dealing with that measure. 
I do not say that there is no objection to the settlement of 
such a matter in this way, for I think there is ; but it is not 
open to the same grave objections as the introduction of it 
into the debate on the Address. 

I remain, my dear sir, 
Faithfully yours, 



I add my brief reply : 


October 2$th, 1884. 


I am much obliged by your letter, and in deference to 
your judgement I will at once abandon the arrangement I 
proposed, and will let the matter stand over until Supply 
has been set up. At the same time I regret the postpone- 
ment, and I hope that in default of any earlier opportunity 
that may be thought an appropriate occasion for the dis- 

Believe me, dear Mr. Gladstone, 
Faithfully yours, 



Supply was set up, and I was fortunate in the ballot and 
obtained the second place for Friday, November 2ist, and 
on that evening I went to the House full of expectation 
of a conspicuous triumph. But I was disappointed. The 
astute old gentleman had found a way of escape. 

As I entered the House a long envelope was handed to me, 
which contained a note from Mr. Gladstone, in which he 
said that he did not intend to make any reply. This, of 
course, was a confession of defeat. If he could have justified 
his figures, he would have delighted in making a public 
example of an opponent who had ventured to question his 
infallibility in finance. The reasons he gave were that in 
an incidental debate on finance a week or two earlier I had 
not taken part, and that the question of comparative ex- 
penditure was one for the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. 
Childers, to deal with. These were transparent pretences. 
My controversy was not with Mr. Childers, but with him ; 
and if after giving notice of a specific motion I had brought 
the matter up in the course of a general debate, I should 
have been justly accused of trying to take my adversary at 
a disadvantage. 

Enclosed with his note was a memorandum covering eight 
pages of quarto paper. It was dated " Downing Street, 
November 2ist, 1884," but is not, I think, in his hand' 

1882-4] A SPEECH UNSPOKEN 223 

writing. It was a curious document, in the form of a 
dialogue between A and B ; but I need not describe it, as 
any one still interested in this old controversy can read it 
in The Nineteenth Century of December 1884. It suffices 
to say here that it contained no reaffirmation of the Edin- 
burgh figures. 

On receiving this letter and memorandum, I at once went 
to the Speaker, told him the circumstances, and asked his 
permission to make a personal statement. He consented ; 
and when he called upon me I read Mr. Gladstone's letter, 
end then said that I did not think I should be consulting 
the convenience of the House in making a speech to which 
no answer would be given. I said I would put the substance 
of the speech into print, and, taking advantage of the 
permission given, I would append to it the long manuscript 
statement which the letter enclosed, and would send a 
copy to every member of the House. 

I think my action made me for a time one of the most 
popular of men. That a lawyer, having the House at his 
mercy, and primed with a long speech on a dull subject, 
should refrain from delivering it, and send it in print, so 
that those who chose to do so might read it and consider 
it at their leisure, was so new an experience that I believe 
the incident immediately and finally relieved me from the 
prejudice which was undoubtedly felt in the House against 
members of rny profession. As I left the Chamber I met 
in the Lobby my old friend James Knowles. " Let me 
have your speech/' he said. " I want it for my December 
number, and it will be just in time." I told him I had 
never in my life written out a speech in full before delivering 
it, and had no manuscript which would answer his purpose. 
" Well, if I send you a shorthand writer to-morrow morning, 
will you dictate it to him ? " I agreed, and the next day 
I delivered my speech walking up and down my delightful 
library at Russell Square. The proof was corrected on 
Monday (the 24th), and two or three days later The Nine- 
teenth Century containing it was issued to the trade. The 
incident was pleasantly closed by Mr. Knowles sending me 


a cheque for fifteen guineas, which added to my library a 
fine edition of Swift's works. 

The promised pamphlet was duly sent to every member 
of each House of Parliament. 

Of course I had not resolved upon putting down an amend- 
ment to the Address without consulting my leader in the 
House of Commons. 

I wrote to him from Plymouth, remonstrating on his 
having apparently accepted the Edinburgh figures as correct, 
and in reply he asked me to come and dine and sleep at 
Pynes, or at all events to come and lunch there. So on 
October loth I broke my journey at Exeter and drove out 
to his beautiful old house. There I spent a delightful 
afternoon. We did not talk much about finance, for I took 
with me a startling bit of news on a more important 
subject than the accuracy of Mr. Gladstone's figures. At 
Exeter I had found the London newspapers, and there 
in The Standard was printed the full text of the Redistribu- 
tion Bill, upon the production of which the Tories had been 
clamorously insisting. In those days there were no tele- 
phones, but it seemed to me very strange that, with the 
telegraph wires available, the leader of the Opposition in 
the House of Commons should at two o'clock in the after- 
noon be quite ignorant of such a document having been 
published eight hours earlier. Our conversation was mainly 
about the position of the Reform question. The Franchise 
Bill, which in April had passed its second reading in the 
House of Commons by a majority of more than three to two 
(340 to 210), and had been read a third time without an 
opposing vote, had been practically rejected by the House 
of Lords ; and Parliament had been prorogued and an autumn 
session fixed for October 2ist, in order that it might again 
be rapidly passed and sent up to the Lords with the menace 
that if they dared again to reject it they would imperil the 
power, if not the existence, of their House. Sir Stafford 
complained bitterly that he was being ignored in certain 
negotiations which he believed were going on. He told me 
that the Duke of Richmond had been to Balmoral, and he 


thought that Lord Salisbury and the Duke and Lord 
Cairns were busy in negotiations from which he was entirely 
excluded. He was mistaken in this. The suggestions which 
the Queen had made in September to the Duke of Richmond 
had led to no result. 

Two days before the meeting of Parliament in October 
1884 I was at the Carlton, and met Edward Stanhope and 
Lord George Hamilton, and asked if anything had been 
arranged as to the course of the Conservative party. They 
said no, so I saw Henry Northcote and found from him that 
no plans had been settled, but that a meeting of the members 
of the late Government was to take place at Sir Stafford 
Northcote's house the afternoon before Parliament met. 

I thereupon drafted an amendment to the Address, and 
urged upon Northcote that it would be a serious blunder to 
take a great party division upon the second reading of the 
Franchise Bill, as it was quite certain that we could not 
now detach any Liberals from their party. 

The amendment I drafted was in these terms : 

That the House humbly assures Her Majesty of its willing- 
ness to proceed immediately to the consideration of the 
question of Reform and its desire to arrive at a fair and 
just settlement of the whole question, and to that end it 
humbly prays Her Majesty to cause the proposals of Her 
Majesty's Government with respect to the redistribution of 
seats to be laid upon the table of the House, and assures 
Her Majesty that those proposals shall be diligently and 
carefully considered. 

I suggested that if this were moved as an amendment to 
the Address all the Irish party and a certain number of 
Liberals might be expected to vote for it, and so induce the 
Government to come to a reasonable agreement by sub- 
stantially diminishing their majority. 

Northcote took the draft to give to his father. A few days 
afterwards I heard from him and from Stanhope, to whom 
I had also spoken on the matter, that the proposal had 
been discussed at the meeting at Sir Stafford's, and that 


Lord Salisbury as well as Stanhope was in favour of it, and 
that Sir Stafford was also inclined to support it. It was, 
however, set aside in deference chiefly, so Henry Northcote 
told me, to the objections of James Lowther and Rowland 
Winn, who thought that it would obtain for us so good a 
division that afterwards when we came to divide upon the 
Franchise Bill itself it would appear that our supporters 
were falling away from us. 

The result of this decision was that we divided again 
against the second reading of the Franchise Bill, did not 
get a single vote from the Irish or the Liberal party, and 
were beaten by a majority of 140. 

The very day after I had my conversation with Sir Stafford 
at Pynes the Queen suggested to Lord Salisbury that the 
leaders of the Opposition should be prepared to negotiate 
with the Government on the basis of a very moderate 
speech made by Lord Hartington at Hanley, in which, 
to Mr. Gladstone's dissatisfaction, he had used the word 
" compromise." In the negotiations which followed Sir 
Stafford took a very important part. 

On November I4th he had a private conversation with 
Mr. Gladstone, in which, Lord Morley says, " they made good 
progress on the principles of redistribution." * And five 
days later there began a remarkable series of meetings at 
Downing Street, where Lord Salisbury and Sir Stafford met 
the Prime Minister and some of his colleagues, the Govern- 
ment scheme was produced and discussed, and the main 
provisions of the Bill were practically agreed. A dangerous 
constitutional conflict was averted ; a sound measure of 
redistribution of political power was carried through ; the 
privilege and responsibility of the franchise were widely 
extended ; and so far from producing the revolutionary 
results very freely predicted, it happened after the Reform 
Bill of 1884, as after those of 1832 and 1867, that the next 
election but one put into power those who had most feared 
its effects. To the wisdom and tact of the Queen and her 
resolute perseverance in the face of many difficulties the 

1 Life of Gladstone, ch. iii, p. 136. 


country was chiefly indebted ; but all the statesmen con- 
cerned were entitled to share the credit, and especially Lord 
Salisbury, who had the hardest task of all. To the very 
last he was doubtful of success. 

On November I5th I wrote to him from Russell Square, 
enclosing a memorandum : 


I apologise for troubling you who have so many 
counsellors, and need them so little, but I am very anxious 
about the present situation, and think the suggestion in 
the enclosed memorandum may offer a reasonable solution. 
The essentials of a compromise, which I think very desir- 
able, are 

(1) That the Government should appear to succeed by 
putting the Franchise Bill upon the Statute Book without 
making its operation contingent upon the passing of a Re- 
distribution Bill. 

(2) That the House of Lords should succeed in making it 
practically impossible that an election should take place 
on the new franchise and the old constituencies. The 

suggestion of F would only secure the first of these 

essentials, and I think mine would secure both. 

Believe me, my dear Lord Salisbury, 
Very faithfully yours, 


The enclosed Memorandum : 

(1) House of Lords to pass the second reading of the 
Franchise Bill. 

(2) Government then to introduce Redistribution Bill in 
House of Commons, declaring that Parliament will be 
adjourned, not prorogued, and the Redistribution Bill taken 
in precedence of all Government measures. 

(3) Names of Boundary Commissioners or the mode of 
their selection to be agreed. 

(4) House of Lords thereupon to pass the Franchise Bill, 
amended by inserting [Mr. F.'s clause] instead of January ist, 
1885, these words : " January ist, 1886, or such earlier date as 
may be appointed by any Act passed lor the Redistribution 
of Seats " ; or these words : " January ist, 1886, unless before 
that date an Act shall be passed for the Redistribution of 


Seats, in which case this Act shall come into operation on 
the day when the royal assent shall be given to such Act 
for the Redistribution of Seats." 

No. 3 might be given up by way of compromise. 

The words suggested in (4) escape the objection taken 

by Mr. Gladstone to Mr. 's words There can be 

no double register. They do not definitely postpone the 
operation of the Franchise Bill. 

They practically secure the requirements of the House 
of Lords. 

This Government may pass the Bill now to be brought 

In that case election in the spring of 1886 on new con- 
stituencies. The election will not then have been delayed 
a single day by the action of the House of Lords. 

The Government may fail. 

Then there must be a dissolution upon the old franchise. 
If Liberals win, they were pledged to moderate redistribu- 
tion, and Conservatives are no worse off than before, rather 
better. If Conservatives win, they have the session of 
1886 to either (i) pass Redistribution Bill, or (2) pass a Bill 
postponing the operation of the Franchise Bill 

Lord Salisbury replied the next day : 


I agree with you in thinking a compromise desirable 
under all the circumstances of the case, but I do not think 
your proposal gives us sufficient security against an election 
on the old constituencies with the new franchise. There is 
a gap the interval between January ist and April 26th, 
1887. If it did happen that redistribution were not finished 
in 1886, the pressure would be very strong and practically 
irresistible to hold the dissolution over the New Year, so as 
to allow the two million capables to vote. If your proposal 
said January 1887, it would no doubt be more favourable. 

Yours very truly, 

A few days later I sent another memorandum upon the 
political position : 

Franchise Bill has passed the Commons by majority of 
140, and the House has by a majority of 85 refused to make 

1882-4] THE OUTLOOK 229 

its operation (in terms) dependent upon the passing of a 
Redistribution Bill. 
The House of Lords may : 

(1) Reject. 

(2) Pass second reading and postpone Committee to 
February next. 

Of these courses the second would be far the best for 
three reasons : 

(1) It could not be usefully alleged that the Lords had 
thrown out the Bill. 

(2) It would greatly embarrass the Government. 

(3) It would take away all excuse for the creation w of 

Rejection would be a defeat to which the Government 
could not submit , without fatally weakening their position 
in Parliament and in the country. 

They must then either 

Obtain the creation of Peers (to be avoided by the 
adoption of the second course). 

R sien I These both mean dissolution, for a Conserva- 

Dissolve 1 ** ve "^ktry could not meet this Parlia- 
t ment with advantage. 

What are the prospects of a dissolution ? 

Probably the Tory party would gain so many seats as 
to have a majority over the Liberals, the parties being : 

Tory 300 

Liberal 270 

Parnellites 90 


What must then happen ? 

The new Government would let 1885 pass by ; the 
moderate Liberals would probably decline to join the Par- 
nellites in ejecting them. 

But in 1886 it would be necessary to make arrangements 
for a Reform Bill, and in 1887 one must be proposed, and 
that Bill would emerge from the House of Commons a much 
more Radical measure than can be got now. But the 
result of an election might be that the Liberals would have 
a majority. In that case they could do just what they 
pleased, for it would then be practically impossible for the 
House of Lords to interfere at all. 


There are reasons why it would be well for the Tory party 
that the election should be postponed. 

The difficulties of Egypt and Ireland are not at their 

Increased taxation will be immediately required. 

Agricultural and commerciaj depression is increasing. 

The Government have succeeded in removing the impres- 
sion that they desired or had any reason to conceal their 

An immediate reply came from Hatfield, dated November 

A line to thank you for your very suggestive paper. 
The difficulty is the profound division of opinion among 
our own friends, and it is a difficulty which grows the worse 
the more we look at it. 

Ever yours truly, 


By way of personal history I may here put in a few 
sentences from my letters written from the House to my 
wife, who was then at Hastings : 

November zoth, 1884. 

All things seem in confusion down here. The Government 
cannot tell us what is to be done in Egypt, nor what they 
propose to spend on the Navy ; so probably we shall adjourn 
on Monday for a week. But I believe that nothing will 
prevent my attack on the old gentleman coming on to- 
morrow, so I am going home presently to put the finishing 
touches to the speech. The Radicals are delightfully savage, 
and there has been a very definite rumour of Mr. Chamber- 
lain's resignation, but I fear it is too good to be true. When 
I was in the middle of the last sentence, Labouchere came up 
to speak to me about to-morrow evening. He has given 
notice of a motion attacking the House of Lords, and he says 
he is going to dilate on " the humiliating surrender, the old 
man grovelling on his knees before the Peers." It will be 
fun, and as I stand next after him I shall have to be there. 

December 1st, 1884. 

Mr. Gladstone is just about to make his statement about 
the Redistribution Bill, and I do not know what sort of 


debate will arise upon it to keep me in the House, so I 
will just snatch the time to report myself all safe in town. . . . 
There is plenty of excitement here : at least a third of the 
members will have to stand for fresh constituencies, and 
most of them do not seem to like the prospect. Plymouth 
is one of the few constituencies which are " not too large 
but just large enough "to be left alone, so I can feel philo- 
sophical. But for the next twelve months this will be a very 
singular House of Commons. Just up: so I must be off. 

The publication in The Standard of the Cabinet draft of 
the Redistribution Bill was a very curious incident. The 
Spottiswoodes had for a long time been the Government 
printers, and for a time it was believed or pretended that 
they were responsible for the betrayal of a Cabinet secret. 
They were at once notified that they would no longer be 
entrusted with Government work. The heads of the firm 
came to me for advice, and explained to me the elaborate 
precautions which were taken when confidential documents 
had to be printed for use by the Cabinet. A group of the 
most experienced and trustworthy men in their employ 
were entrusted with the work. The manuscript was 
separated into small parts, and so distributed to different 
men in different places that no printer ever had in his hands, 
or could get access to, the whole document. Only as many 
copies were printed as there were members of the Cabinet, 
and these copies were all numbered. 

On my advice statutory declarations were made by the 
persons who in this case had been employed on the work, and 
were sent to the Treasury. In a short time Spottiswoodes 
were restored to their position. I have always been curious 
as to the explanation of this incident. It may have been 
a disloyal act on the part of an individual member of the 
Cabinet ; it seems to me more likely that it was a calculated 
indiscretion, not disapproved by the body of its members, 
and intended to assist the process of negotiation by directing 
attention to the details of a redistribution scheme. 

The subject which interested me most in the Reform 
discussions was that of Proportional Representation. I 


worked actively with Mr. Courtney and Sir John Lubbock 
in the public meetings at which Mr. Hare's system was 
practically illustrated. And I should like to quote two 
sentences from the report in Hansard of the speech which 
I made in the House of Commons in Committee on the 
Franchise Bill: 

I can hardly imagine a Reform Bill so extensive that it 
would be unsafe to adopt it if it were associated with the 
principle of Proportional Representation. 

With regard to that principle, valuable as I think it would 
be, and safe as it would make the enlargement of the fran- 
chise, it is the only means by which it will be possible 
permanently to retain Ireland within the parliamentary 
system of this country, and therefore I heartily wish it could 
be incorporated in the present measure. 1 

There is one other speech made by me in the eventful 
year of 1884 which I think I ought to mention, as it had some 
effect on my fortunes at Plymouth a good many years later. 

At one of my meetings there I had been asked whether I 
was in favour of the Bill for permitting marriage with a 
deceased wife's sister. I replied that I was. The High 
Church party at Plymouth was very strong, and included 
some of the most influential men of the town. Their leader 
among the clergy was my dear friend the Rev. G. R. 
Prynne, the vicar for fifty years of St. Peter's, Plymouth, 
a man of saintly character, honoured and loved by all 
who knew him. We differed widely in opinion on Church 
matters, but in political affairs he was my staunch supporter. 
He went so far as to write an election song which was sung 
at my meetings in 1886. The leader of the High Church 
laity was Mr. John Shelly, a lawyer of high character who had 
been Mayor of Plymouth, a man of wealth and influence 
and a devoted Churchman. He and most of the High 
Churchmen belonged to the Liberal party ; but a few, and 
they not unimportant in the then nicely balanced condition 
of political parties in the town, were among my Conservative 
supporters. In the early part of 1884 I received a letter 

1 Hansard, vol. cclxxxv p. 398. 


signed by a number of my constituents urging me to vote 
against the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, or at all events to 
refrain from voting or speaking in its favour. I at once 
replied that my conduct in Parliament must be guided 
entirely by my own convictions, and I prepared, and on 
May 6th, 1884, delivered, a speech in support of the Bill, 
which is reprinted in my Selected Speeches, 1 and is the fullest 
expression of the opinions on this subject which have been 
sustained by the thought and experience of the many years 
which have passed since. 

I have given a large and perhaps a disproportionate space 
to the record of my political work during the years 1882 
to 1884, but these years were in some respects the most 
important years of my life. In a former chapter I have 
spoken of my good fortune in coming into the House of 
Commons just at the time when my leaders were ejected 
from office and were specially inclined to favour a new 
recruit who was likely to be of service in debate. This 
advantage I did not throw away. I carefully chose my 
opportunities of speaking, and never spoke at great length. 
I was always willing to oblige the Whips by going to speak 
at contested elections or at political meetings in or not 
far from London, and I think that during my time of active 
political work I must have made as many speeches on 
public platforms as any member of the party. At the end 
of this volume I will give a list of places outside London 
at which I have made political speeches, and it will represent 
a good deal of activity. Of course I have no record of the 
multitudinous speeches made in the London constituencies. 
But I never allowed the Whips to have anything to do with 
my speaking in the House itself. The great danger of a 
young member, anxious to oblige them and to distinguish 
himself, is the being induced to speak just to keep the 
debate going when he has not prepared a speech. Then he 
always fails, and the House soon ceases to take an interest 
in him. 

This is the mistake which, as in the case of my brilliant 
i Selected Speeches, p. 62 


friend Frank Lockwood, entirely disappoints so many 
reasonable expectations of success in the House of Commons. 

I did not speak often, and never without preparation, and 
prepared many more speeches than I had the opportunity 
of delivering. The material was not wasted, for I had 
plenty of public meetings at which it could be used. So by 
the end of 1884 I had done a great deal of work for my 
party in and out of the House ; my leaders honoured me 
with their confidence and friendship ; and I believe I was 
not unpopular with members of either of the three political 

Meanwhile my position at the Bar was steadily advancing. 
It appeared likely that I should be able to take a not 
inconspicuous part in the political crisis which all believed 
would be reached in the summer of 1885. 



Iii the short legal holiday at the end of 1884 my wife and 
I went to Belgium for a fortnight to enjoy pictures and 
churches at Antwerp and Ghent and Bruges. She paid 
very dearly for the enjoyment, for an abominably insanitary 
hotel at Antwerp sowed the seeds of typhoid fever, and a 
few weeks later she had a very dangerous illness. 

Returning home on January gth, I had a pleasant surprise 
in finding a letter awaiting me from the solicitor to the 
Conservative party in Manchester, saying that in case I did 
not intend to contest Plymouth at the next election they 
desired to put a safe seat for one of the divisions of that 
city at my disposal. The idea of leaving Plymouth had 
never entered my mind ; but seeing that I had been elected 
by a small majority, that the constituency had now more 
than doubled in number, that Sir Edward Bates, through 
whose disqualification I had obtained the seat, was now 
coming forward again, and that Macliver, my Liberal 
colleague, had shown himself a very diligent and useful 
member, I dare say my prospect of re-election did not look 
so hopeful to others as it did to myself. 

I at once wrote gratefully acknowledging the honour done 
me by the offer, but adding : 

I am pledged to stand for Plymouth, where I have every 
reason to believe my seat is perfectly safe, and where I 
received in 1880 the most generous welcome. I cannot 
therefore accept your kind invitation, but I shall always be 
proud to have received it, and shall feel that the Conserva- 



lives of Manchester have by this offer created an abiding 
claim upon my services in or out of the House of Commons. 

My suggestion in the second memorandum to Lord Salis- 
bury, that the difficulties of the Government with regard to 
Ireland and Egypt were not at their worst, was soon justified. 

On January 24th there were serious explosions of dyna- 
mite at the Tower of London, in the House of Commons, and 
in Westminster Hall. And more important than the inci- 
dent itself was the fact that Mr. Parnell, speaking almost 
immediately afterwards, did not say a word in deprecation 
of these methods of political agitation. 

Then on February 5th came the news of General Gordon's 
death at Khartoum. Mr. Gladstone saw at once that this 
would probably bring about the fall of the Government, and 
there were anxious and perplexed discussions in the Cabinet. 
Parliament had been adjourned from December 6th to 
February igth, and in the angry excitement of the public 
mind the result of the vote of censure which would certainly 
be moved as soon as the House of Commons assembled was 
very doubtful. 

It was at that critical moment that Lord Rosebery, with 
fine courage and patriotism, became a member of a Cabinet 
which already appeared to be tottering to its fall. His 
adhesion was of value to the Prime Minister for the influence 
which he had with the moderate section of the Liberal party, 
rather than for the value of any advice he could give upon 
the difficulties at home and abroad, with the details of which 
he was not completely acquainted. And it did not prove to 
be an unmixed advantage. Three months later he joined the 
other peers in the Cabinet in rejecting the proposal of a 
central body in Ireland for the control of municipal adminis- 
tration a decision which at once upset the Government 
ancj. turned the Home Rule movement into more dangerous 

The expected vote of censure was moved by Sir Stafford 
Northcote on February 23rd. I happened to notice that 
it was the anniversary of an important event in Mr. Glad- 


stone's life. On February 23rd, 1855, speaking from the 
ex-minister's place below the gangway, he had explained 
to a perplexed House of Commons why he had left Lord 
Palmerston's ministry, which he had only joined about a 
fortnight earlier. The coincidence was a useful debating 
topic, and I prepared myself for speaking if I found an oppor- 
tunity. I rose two or three times on the second and third 
nights of the debate, but was not called upon. On the 
fourth and last night the same thing happened, so I went 
to the Speaker and asked if he thought he could give me 
an opportunity for a short speech. Mr. Labouchere had 
just risen and was speaking on the Liberal side. The 
Speaker (Mr. Peel) said he was very sorry he had not been 
able to call me, and that now it was difficult, for he had 
promised Mr. Forster to call him as soon as he could after 
10 o'clock, and Labouchere would probably speak till then. 
I said my speech would be very short, only about seven 
or eight minutes. " Oh/' said he, " that makes all the 
difference. I shall be very glad to have a speech from 
the Opposition benches if I am sure it will be short." So 
when Labouchere sat down I was called upon. It was a 
fine opportunity, for the House was rapidly filling, and there 
was much excitement at the prospect of a close division. 
The speech was a success. Its brevity was recognised as 
an excellent quality, and perhaps it had some others. 

There is one passage I think it worth while to quote. 

Mr. John Morley had moved the following amendment : 

That the House, while refraining from expressing an 
opinion on the policy pursued by Her Majesty's Govern- 
ment in respect of the affairs of Egypt and the Soudan, 
regrets the decision of Her Majesty's Government to employ 
the forces of the Crown for the overthrow of the power of 
the Mahdi. 

My comment on this was : 

As to the amendment of the Member for Newcastle, it 
is a sham amendment. He knows perfectly well the sort of 
people among whom he is sitting. He knows they have not 


the courage for a real rebellion, so he proposes an amend- 
ment, on which he says, " We will refrain from expressing 
an opinion on the conduct of Her Majesty's Government." 
Why does he refrain from expressing that opinion, if he can 
express an opinion in favour of the Government ? Sir, 
if he thought there were fifty members of this House who 
would support him in that opinion, he would be delighted 
to recognise those public and private ties of which he spoke 
so feelingly on Monday last. It may be that he does not 
himself approve of the conduct of the Government ; but if 
he does not approve it, why does he not say so ? Because 
he knows the sort of party by whom he is surrounded. The 
fact is, this is a sham amendment. It is said, and I believe 
with some truth, that the intention of some members of 
the Radical section is to vote for this amendment, which 
they are quite sure will be defeated, and then to vote for 
the Government against the resolution of the right honour- 
able baronet one vote for their consciences, which they 
take care shall have no effect, and one for their party ; so 
that they will secure the continuance in power of a Govern- 
ment which, so far as we know, is committed to a course 
of wanton and objectless bloodshed ; and having by their 
votes made it possible that this course should be pursued, 
they can go down to their country constituents proudly 
claiming to be the friends of peace and freedom, and appeal 
for their justification to the division list which records 
their votes on this futile amendment. 1 

This was exactly what took place. 

There were nearly 600 members in the divisions. Mr. 
Morley's amendment was negatived by 450 to 112. Sir 
Stafford Northcote's motion was rejected by the slender 
majority of 14 (302-288), Mr. Forster and Mr. Goschen 
voting against the Government. 

For a few days it was uncertain whether the Government 
would resign. There had been an understanding in the 
Cabinet that resignation would follow if their majority did 
not exceed fifteen, but Mr. Gladstone was resolute to con- 
tinue the struggle, and his will prevailed. For three months 
he fought on with splendid courage and resourcefulness. 

1 Selected Speeclies, p. 128. 


Difficulties were daily increasing. A war with Russia was 
at the last moment averted. On almost all political ques- 
tions his colleagues were sharply divided, and it taxed 
all his skill to prevent the resignations which were daily 
threatened. But the end came as soon as Ministers had to 
decide upon their Irish policy. The question of the renewal 
of the Coercion Act had to be dealt with at once, and was 
their most pressing difficulty. 

I was in my place in the House on the occasion when 
Mr. Gladstone gave notice that the Government proposed to 
continue various provisions of the Crimes Act which they 
deemed to be valuable and equitable. I saw Mr. John 
Morley at once leave the House, and in a few minutes he 
returned and read from a written notice that if proposals 
were made for the renewal of exceptional law he would 
move their rejection. 

This notice was the death-warrant of the Government. 
Extraordinary efforts were made by Mr. Gladstone to secure 
agreement in the Cabinet upon Irish policy, but they failed. 
The end came somewhat unexpectedly on June 8th. An 
amendment to the Budget condemning the increase of 
duties on beer while wine was left untouched, and an increase 
of taxes on real property while no relief was given to rates, 
was moved on that evening by Sir Michael Hicks-Beach. 
The debate was rather dull, and there was no great excite- 
ment in the House. Mr. Gladstone, closing the debate, 
made a strangely vague and inconsecutive speech, which 
seemed quite needlessly prolonged, and was finished with 
singular abruptness. I was sitting just opposite to him 
on the second Opposition bench, and I noticed that the chief 
Government Whip, Lord Richard Grosvenor, came into the 
House and slipped into a seat close to him and said some- 
thing to him. Thereupon Mr. Gladstone's manner suddenly 
changed, and he snapped out his closing sentence : " This is 
a question of life and death. As such we accept it, and as 
such we do not envy those who, if they gain the victory, 
will have to bear the consequences/' 

Then we went to the division, and as I joined Hardinge 


Giffard and walked down the House I said, " We are going 
to beat them to-night/' 

" Oh no/' said he ; "we know the numbers in the House, 
and there are not quite enough of us." 

I told him what I had noticed, and that I felt sure that 
Lord Richard had told his chief that we should win. 

" Then," said Giffard, " you and I will be in office together 
in a fortnight," and we went on to the Lobby. 

When the paper was handed to our Whip there was a 
tremendous shout, sharply checked for the numbers to be 
heard. For the Government, 252 ; for the Opposition, 264. 
Then came the shouting again. Randolph Churchill jumped 
up on the seat and waved his hat in triumph. And the 
loudest cheering came from the Irish Nationalists. Mr. 
Gladstone amid the storm had taken a writing-pad on his 
knee, and was writing his letter to the Queen. 

It was an arranged defeat. Lord Spencer had come over 
from Ireland that morning, and for nearly two hours that 
afternoon the Cabinet had been struggling in vain to find a 
solution of their difficulties. There were enough of their 
followers in the House to have given them a majority, but 
to some twenty-five of them a hint was given that they 
need not come back after dinner, and Lord Richard 
Grosvenor's whisper reported that a defeat had been secured. 

The faithful Liberals who had assisted the Government 
to commit the happy dispatch were very scurvily treated. 
The Pall Mall Gazette printed a " black list " of sixty-one 
who were absent from the division, with such excuses as 
some of them chose to give, and The Daily News fell upon 
them furiously. It was only a few months later that a 
Liberal Whip (R. W. Duff), speaking at Banff, let out the 
true story. 

The resignation of the Ministry was announced next day, 
but the Queen was at Balmoral ; personal interviews were 
necessary ; and Her Majesty determined to return to town, 
but did not arrive in London until June lyth. Meanwhile 
speculation had been busy with the question whether Lord 
Salisbury would accept office, and with the appointments 


likely to be made if he should do so. As early as June loth 
The Daily Telegraph mentioned me as the new Attorney- 
General, and the same forecast was given in The Daily News 
of the following day. The first announcement in The Times 
that a new Ministry had been formed appeared on the 
i8th, and gave the names of the Cabinet, and added, " It 
is rumoured with considerable confidence that Mr. Edward 
Clarke and Mr. Gorst will be the new Law Officers." The 
announcement of my appointment was repeated in The 
Pall Mall Gazette that evening. The next day a new name 
was introduced. On the i8th Sir Hardinge Giffard had 
returned his briefs, and Richard Webster had gone to 
Launceston to arrange his candidature for the seat thus 
to be vacated. 

And on the iQth the Press Association circulated the 
statement that Webster was to be Attorney-General and 
Gorst Solicitor. 

But for ten days longer the matter remained in doubt. 
Macnaghten expected, with good reason, that he would 
be Attorney-General. He was senior to both Webster and 
myself ; he had a large practice and a safe seat. I did 
not know until many years later that he had been offered 
a judgeship by the Liberals and had refused it at the request 
of his party leaders. 

While the legal appointments were still unsettled Giffard 
came to Macnaghten and asked him to accept the Home 
Secretaryship, promising him the reversion to the Chancel- 
lorship. But Macnaghten had many children, and he did 
not think the promise was quite certain of fulfilment, so he 
refused and remained in the House of Commons until in 
1887 he was appointed a Lord of Appeal. His doubt was 
prudent ; twenty years later Lord Halsbury was still the 
Lord Chancellor of a Unionist Government. 

The uncertainty continued, and meanwhile the Plymouth 
Liberals had a crowded meeting at their club on the 2oth 
to make preparation for a contest in the event of my 
appointment. My friends there were naturally uneasy, 
and pressed me for information. I had none to give, and 


had no communication with our Whips or with any of our 
leaders. I believed I was entitled to office, but I did not 
mean to ask for it. 

For another week no definite appointments were made, 
and in the complete list of the new Government which 
appeared in The Times and The Pall Mall Gazette on June 26th 
the names of Webster and Gorst were given as the Law 
Officers, but a note of interrogation was appended to each. 
On that day I wrote to Lord Salisbury, saying that Webster's 
appointment would be a public affront to all the Queen's 
Counsel on our side of the House of Commons, and that 
it would result in the disaffection of supporters of the Con- 
servative cause now in the House, and it would be a severe 
blow to the interests of the party at the General Election. 

By the same post I sent a copy of the letter to Webster. 
Lord Salisbury sent me a very friendly answer, defending his 
action and saying in its closing sentence : 

I much regret that these considerations under the par- 
ticular circumstances of the case have not allowed me to 
ask for your official aid as yet. But you have a long future 
before you, and under any political circumstances you 
cannot have long to wait. 

My friendship with Webster did not moult a feather. He 
was a man of high and generous nature, and to the end of 
his life our close and intimate friendship remained undis- 
turbed. I have reason to believe that Lord Salisbury per- 
sisted to the last in wishing to appoint me Solicitor-General. 
He wished Gorst to have departmental office, and the 
Under-Secretaryship of the Home Office was kept open for 
him. But Lord Randolph insisted on his having the more 
valuable appointment, and on June 2gth The Times defi- 
nitely announced that Webster and he were the Law Officers, 
and that evening The Pall Mall Gazette reported a new 
appointment that of Mr. Stuart-Wortley as Under- Secre- 
tary for the Home Department. 

I have dwelt upon these details, for this was the most 
important incident in my public life. For the first time 


my junior was preferred before me. And there he always 
remained, blocking my way. 

But for his action I should have been Attorney-General 
in 1897 ; but for him I believe I should have been Lord 
Chief Justice in 1900. Any feeling of soreness has long 
passed away. As I said in my farewell speech to the Bar, 
I have no reproaches and no regrets. My life has been 
too prosperous and too happy for them to be possible. But 
I saw at the time what the consequences might be, and I 
seriously resented what I felt to be a public affront. 

Of course my personal disappointment could not affect 
my political allegiance. My admiration and regard for 
Lord Salisbury and my devotion to Tory principles were 
quite unimpaired, but my connection with the party organ- 
isation was severed at once. I resigned my seat on the Council 
of the National Union, on which I had served for eighteen 
years, and although the Council passed a resolution urging 
me to withdraw the resignation I refused to do so. 

The most important consequence to me of that incident 
was that it seriously weakened my political position at 
Plymouth and my expectation of an easy victory at the 
General Election, which we knew would come in November. 

If I had been appointed, I have no doubt that I should 
have been returned without a contest. The Liberals had 
no candidate ; the time would have been too short to find 
and introduce a new one. Many in their own ranks would 
have thought it ungenerous to oppose me ; and if a candi- 
date had been ready he would have been reluctant to 
fight an unpromising contest at the end of June, with the 
certainty of having to fight again four or five months later. 

But my exclusion from office was made use of by my 
opponents and disappointed and disturbed my supporters. 
The idea was put about that either my seat was known to 
be very unsafe (and a doubt was suggested by The Daily 
News) or that there was something against me which dis- 
inclined my leaders to give me oifice. And when I went 
to Plymouth I found a perceptible lessening of confidence 
among my best friends. 


The stop-gap Ministry stumbled through the rest of the 
session, and in October Parliament was dissolved. 

My retirement from the National Union did not lessen 
my platform activity, and during the month of October I 
was very busy in the west of England. Beginning with 
the meeting of the Plymouth Conservative Association on 
October 7th, I spoke in that month at Liskeard, Penzance 
(twice), Plympton, Torquay, and St. Austell, and during the 
Plymouth election I found time for meetings at Devonport 
and Ivybridge, and for a Tavistock Division meeting at 

Our own contest began with the issue of election addresses 
by Sir Edward Bates and myself. My old friend Edward 
Pinches went down with me as our election agent, and 
but for his ability and tact and absolute devotion to my 
interests the struggle might have ended in my defeat. As it 
was I could not help seeing that our opponents seemed to 
gain in confidence day by day, and in certain wards of the 
town our friends confessed themselves uneasy. The polling 
day, November 24th, was a day of very hard work and 
much anxiety. With some difficulty I persuaded Sir Edward 
Bates to adopt my practice and start driving about the 
town from one committee-room to another as soon as the 
poll was opened at 8 o'clock, and this we continued until 
four in the afternoon. Then he was tired and had to rest. 
I was tired too, and my head was aching badly, but 1 set 
off on another round. 

At each committee-room I examined the returns and had 
slips made out with the names of voters who had promised 
to support us and were not known to have voted, and 
pressing many friends into the service sent off each with 
one name, charging him not to rest until he had brought 
that voter to the poll. 

This tinal effort arranged for, there was nothing more 1 
could do, and I went back to my hotel for a few hours of 
quiet. The poll closed at eight, but there were 8,500 
votes to be counted ; 250 ballot papers had to be submitted 
to the Mayor's decision, and an incident which occurred 


during the counting caused Mr. Pinches to be very strictly 
observant. The ballot papers, when examined, were tied 
up in bundles of fifty, and he noticed one bundle lying on 
a form by one of the Liberal counters. It was a bundle 
of votes given for me, but, whether by accident or design, 
a vote for another candidate was put at the top of the 
bundle, and the effect would have been to make a differ- 
ence of a hundred in our respective numbers when the 
returning officer obtained the result by counting the 

Just after midnight the poll was declared : Bates, 4,354 ; 
Clarke, 4,240 ; Macliver, 4,132 ; and Brett (afterwards the 
2nd Viscount Esher), 3,968 ; and in returning thanks from 
the window of the Globe Hotel I was able to announce that 
at Devonport both Conservatives had been returned, and 
that Henry Northcote had been re-elected for Exeter. 

It was a narrow victory, and the effort had been almost 
too much for me. My wife had been at Plymouth helping 
me throughout the contest, and the next morning she 
brought me back to London by an early train in very 
poor condition. We went at once to my old friend Sir 
Richard Quain, and he sent me down to Hastings, with 
directions like those which Sir William Jenner had given 
me in 1880. It was difficult to obey them for a few days, 
for Hastings was in election turmoil ; the principal hotels 
were full, and at the Albion I was wakened from much 
needed sleep by the brass band and the shouting of Mr. 
Inderwick's supporters, who passed in procession beneath 
my bedroom window. Three weeks passed before my dear 
wife's affectionate care had brought me back to health 
and enabled me to resume my work in town, and to ex- 
change condolences with my political friends on the defec- 
tion of the counties, which destroyed the hopes excited 
by the successes of the first few days of the elections, and 
made it clear that the Conservative Ministry could not 
continue in office. 



THE early months of 1886 were a time of violent political 
unrest. An amendment to the Address to the Crown 
placed Mr. Gladstone again in office ; but there was mis- 
understanding as to the terms on which the Radical leader 
entered the Cabinet. Lord Hartington would not join ; 
Sir Henry James refused the Woolsack ; and before the 
new Government was eight weeks old Mr. Chamberlain 
resigned, and it became almost certain that Lord Salisbury's 
forecast would be justified that, short as his Government 
had been, this would be shorter still. 

Unhappily for the country Mr. Gladstone's courage pre- 
vailed over his prudence, and on April 8th the first Home 
Rule Bill was introduced. I was at the House very little 
during that debate, which lasted for five nights, for I was 
busily preparing for the trial of a case which has always 
made me rejoice that I was not made Solicitor-General in 
1885. Six months of the dignity and emolument of that 
office would have been dearly purchased if it had prevented 
me from defending Adelaide Bartlett; and I had made up 
my mind that, contrary to the practice of those who 
had recently held legal office, I would not, while a law 
officer of the Crown, appear for the prisoner in a criminal 

In the year 1875 Adelaide Blanche de la Tremouille, a 
girl of nineteen years of age, the unacknowledged daughter 
of an Englishman of good social position, was married at 
Croydon to Thomas Edwin Bartlett, a grocer in business 
at Lmlwich, eleven years her senior. 


i886] GEORGE DYSOti 247 

It was a strange union. The girl had spent her youth 
at a French boarding school, from which she was brought 
to England to be married to a man whom she only saw 
once before the day of the wedding ; and it was arranged 
that the marriage should be only a form, that she should 
go to a convent school at Brussels for eighteen months to 
complete her education, and that she should then return 
to her husband, and be to him a companion and nothing 
more. They lived together on this footing for six years, 
and then at her desire for her life was lonely, and she 
longed to have a child the agreement was broken and she 
became pregnant. But the child was still-born, and the 
old relations were resumed. In 1885 Mr. Bartlett' s busi- 
ness had prospered, and other shops had been bought, and 
they were residing in a private house at Wimbledon. There 
they made the acquaintance of a good-looking young Wes- 
leyan minister, the Rev. George Dyson, who was put in 
charge of the chapel at Merton which they were in the 
habit of attending. It was not long before he made love 
to Mrs. Bartlett and found her entirely responsive. He 
mentioned their mutual affection to the husband, and, so 
far from meeting any objection, found him quite willing 
to permit and even to encourage the intimacy. His visits 
became more frequent ; he called her Adelaide and habitu- 
ally kissed her in her husband's presence ; she visited him 
at his lodgings, and they used to go for walks together. 

Mr. Bartlett gave her to him ; spoke of the time when, 
after his death, they would come together ; and in Sep- 
tember altered the will he had made, which left his wife 
the enjoyment of his property so long as she did not marry 
again, by removing that restriction and appointing the 
prospective husband sole executor. 

In December Mr. Bartlett was ill, and was told that the 
disease from which he suffered was making progress, and 
that necrosis of the jaw had set in. 

On Sunday night, December 27th, Mrs. Bartlett went 
out with Mr. Dyson to post some letters, and during their 
walk gave him a sovereign and asked him to procure some 


chloroform for her. The next day he went to three dif- 
ferent chemists in Putney and Wimbledon, and obtained 
from each a bottle of pure chloroform, saying in each case 
that he had been down in the country at Poole, and had 
got some grease stains on his coat, which he wished to re- 
move. He thus obtained three bottles, containing together 
about five ounces, and poured their contents into a large 
bottle. On the Tuesday afternoon he went to Claverton 
Street, Pimlico, where the Bartletts were then lodging. 
Mrs. Bartlett went for a walk with him on the Embankment, 
and in the course of the walk he gave her the chloroform. 
On the Thursday night, New Year's Eve, some coals were 
taken up to the Bartletts' bedroom, and Mrs. Bartlett told 
the servant she would not be wanted again. About four 
o'clock she aroused the household. Mr. Bartlett was dead. 
The doctor, who was promptly called, believed from the 
temperature of the body that he had been dead for three 

Mrs. Bartlett told the doctor that she went to sleep at 
the foot of her husband's bed in the easy chair in which of 
late she had been sleeping, and had her left arm round 
his feet, that she woke and heard him snoring, a peculiar 
kind of snore, and dropped asleep again. Later on she 
awoke and saw him lying on his face in an uncomfortable 
position. He was dead, and the body was already cold. 
No mention was then made of chloroform, and no bottle 
containing any was found in the room. Mrs. Bartlett 
wrote to Mr. Dyson that morning a letter which he subse- 
quently destroyed, which he said asked him to come to 
see her on the following day, the Saturday. He came, and 
was in the house while the post-mortem examination was 
being made, and learned that the doctors had failed to 
discover the cause of death, and that the rooms were to be 
locked and sealed and handed over to the coroner. The 
next morning he went to preach at his chapel, and as he was 
crossing Wandsworth Common he threw away the bottles 
which had contained the chloroform he purchased. Mrs. 
Bartlett still had in her secret possession the larger bottle 


which he had given to her, and four days later, when she 
was going by train from Victoria to Peckham Rye, she 
poured the chloroform on the rails and threw the bottle 
into a pond. 

The trial began on Monday, April I2th, 1886, at the 
Central Criminal Court and lasted all the week. Sir Alfred 
Wills was the judge, and Sir Charles Russell, as Attorney- 
General, led for the prosecution, his juniors being Mr. Poland, 
Mr. R. S. Wright (afterwards Mr. Justice Wright), and 
Mr. Moloney. 

The coroner's jury had found a verdict of wilful murder 
against both Mrs. Bartlett and Mr. Dyson, and they had 
both been committed for trial on that charge. I was re- 
tained to defend her, with Mr. Mead and Mr. Edward Beal 
for my juniors, and Frank Lockwood and Mr. (now Sir) 
C. Mathews were Counsel for Dyson. 

It was evident that, as in the Penge case, questions of 
medical science would be of supreme importance, so I post- 
poned some cases and returned other briefs, and spent a 
week or ten days in studying at the British Museum or in 
my own library all that was known about the qualities and 
effects of chloroform and the methods of its administration. 

During the week of the trial I read nothing but the 
papers in the case and the medical books. I drove down 
to the Old Bailey every morning, and when the Court rose 
in the afternoon drove straight back to Russell Square ; 
then went for an hour's walk round the Regent's Park or 
up to Hampstead or Highgate; and then, after a light 
dinner, spent the evening in preparing the cross-examina- 
tion or speech for the following day. 

I cannot give space here for a full account of the trial. 
Soon after its close I published a full report, the medical 
evidence being carefully edited. Sir Charles Russell cor- 
rected the proofs of his speech, and Sir Alfred Wills those 
of his summing up, and I believe the volume to be the 
most complete report of an English murder trial, and to 
doctors as well as lawyers one of the most useful. 1 
1 The Trial of Adelaide Bartlett, Stevens & Haynes. 


It began with a remarkable incident. At the sitting 
of the Court on the Monday morning an application was 
made by the counsel for Dyson, and was supported by 
me, that the two prisoners should be tried separately, a 
course the propriety of which was at once admitted by the 
judge and the Attorney-General. 

But Sir Charles Russell then made the unexpected an- 
nouncement that the Crown did not intend to proceed with 
the charge against Dyson, but proposed to call him as a 
witness against Mrs. Bartlett. A verdict of " Not guilty " 
was then taken in his case, and he was released from 

The next day he appeared in the witness-box. He told 
in detail the history which I have just given in outline of 
his acquaintance with the Bartletts, and of the strange 
relations which had grown up between him and both of 
them. I need hardly say that the task of cross-examining 
him was one of the most delicate and difficult I ever had. 
Quite as important was the cross-examination of the five 
medical witnesses, chief among whom were Dr. Stevenson, 
who had been the principal scientific witness in the Penge 
case nine years before, and Dr. Meymott Tidy. 

They were perhaps the greatest living authorities upon 
the qualities of chloroform and the methods and effect of 
its administration. I cross-examined Dr. Stevenson at 
great length, and at the end had made so much progress 
that I ventured to put to him this question : 

Now, suppose you had to deal with a sleeping man, 
and it was your object to get down his throat, without his 
knowing it, a liquid the administration of which to the lips 
or throat would cause great pain, do you not agree it would 
be a very difficult or delicate operation ? 

A. I think it would be an operation which would often 
fail, and might often succeed. 

Q. Would you look on it as a delicate operation ? 

A. I should look on it as a delicate operation because I 
should be afraid of pouring it down the windpipe. 

Q. That is one of the dangers you contemplate ? 


A. Yes. 

Q. If it got into the windpipe, there would be spasmodic 
action of the muscles, would there not ? 

A. At the stage when you had come to the conclusion 
that you could do it, when there is insensibility or partial 
insensibility, the rejection of the liquid by the windpipe 
would be probably less active than when the patient was 

Q. If the patient got into such a state of insensibility 
as not to reject it, it would go down his windpipe and burn 

A. Probably some might go down his windpipe. 

Q. It would probably do so ? 

A. Probably. 

Q. If it did so, it would leave its traces ? 

A. I should expect to find traces after death unless 
the patient lived some hours. 

Q. Of course a great many post-mortem appearances are 
changed if the patient lives some hours. 

A. Yes. 

Q. Not only by the chloroform disappearing, so to speak, 
but also other changes incidental to a post-mortem condition. 

A. Yes. 

Q. And if the post-mortem examination had been per- 
formed, as Mrs. Bartlett wished it to be, on the very day 
on which death took place, there would have been still 
better opportunity of determining the cause of death ? 

A. Yes. 

I have always thought that these questions and answers 
were the turning-point of the case. 

I do not think any one who has not been through it him- 
self can realise the mental strain of the last day of a trial 
for murder upon the counsel for the defence. As he listens 
to the reply for the Crown and to the judge's summing up, 
he finds little comfort in the thought that he has done his 
best, and that the responsibility for the result lies not so 
much with him as with the judge and the jury. He hears 
the arguments he has pressed most strongly answered in 
the reply, perhaps ignored or made light of in the summing 
up, and he cannot help feeling that there may have been 


some failure on his part of clearness or of force, and that 
an adverse verdict and the inevitable sentence may pos- 
sibly be the consequence of that failure. 

The week was to me one of very great strain. I made 
a point of being at my place in court every morning before 
the judge came in, so that when the fragile, pale little 
woman came up the prison stairs to take her place in the 
dock she should see in the crowded court at least one 
friendly face. One morning she sent me a pathetic little 
note : 

MONSIEUR, I am very grateful to you, although I do 
not look at you. 

As the days went on public excitement grew; and on 
Saturday morning there were restless crowds in the Old 
Bailey, and the quiet tones of the judge were sometimes 
disturbed by the tumult outside. 

On the Saturday I sat for five hours listening to Sir 
Charles Russell and Mr. Justice Wills, recognising the 
strength of the one and the scrupulous fairness of the other, 
yet quite unable to free my mind from the apprehension 
that the life of Adelaide Bartlett might be in the greater 
peril through some defect of mine. Then when the sum- 
ming up was over there were two hours of tense anxiety. 

A little before 3 o'clock the jury went out to consider 
their verdict. An hour passed slowly. Then they came 
back ; but not to give a verdict, but to ask a question 
which seemed almost trivial. They wanted to know what 
time the people of the house went to bed on the night that 
Mr. Bartlett died. The question was answered; and we 
were left to guess on which side of the balance of their 
judgement the answer would weigh. The crowded court 
rustled, and sighed, and talked in nervous and excited whis- 
pers for another hour, and then they came again, and the 
prisoner, deadly pale but strangely calm, was brought back 
to the dock to hear her fate. 

But instead of giving a direct answer to the question, 

1886] NOT GUILTY 253 

" Do you find the prisoner, Adelaide Bartlett, guilty or 
not guilty ? " the foreman reads from a paper : 

We have considered the evidence, and, although we 
think grave suspicion is attached to the prisoner, we do 
not think there is sufficient evidence to show how or by 
whom the chloroform was administered. 

" Then you say the prisoner is not guilty ? " 

" Not guilty." 

Before these formal words were spoken the sound of 
cheering in the streets made it difficult to hear them, and 
then the cheering was taken up in court, and for several 
minutes the angry remonstrance of the judge could not be 

For the first and the only time in my fifty years of advo- 
cacy the suspense, and emotion as I saw my client go from 
the dock to freedom broke me down. I found myself 
sobbing ; I dropped my head on the desk before me, and 
some minutes passed before I regained my self-control. 
Then came the hour of triumph. When I had unrobed and 
came down to the courtyard, I found the jury waiting at 
the foot of the steps to shake hands with me and to 
congratulate. When the gates were opened to let my 
brougham out, a cheering crowd came round me and ran 
beside it, shouting, up the Old Bailey and along Holborn, 
while the passers-by on foot, or on the omnibuses, took 
up the cry. 

I went to the Lyceum that night to see Henry Irving 
and Ellen Terry in Faust, and I was cheered when I entered 
the theatre. 

The results of a conspicuous success such as this do 
not show themselves in professional advancement only : my 
name had become more widely known than ever before, 
and I felt the assistance of this during all the political 
activities of this eventful year. 

I was soon busy with platform work. An assurance had 
been given to Lord Hartington that, in the event of the 
rejection of the Home Rule Bill and a consequent appeal 


to the constituencies, the leaders of the Tory party would 
use all their authority to secure the re-election of any 
Liberal member who voted against the Bill. I think I was 
one of the first persons authorised to declare that policy. 
Among the Liberal members in the West of England there 
were many whose party loyalty was given rather to Lord 
Hartington than to Mr. Gladstone, and a meeting was 
arranged at Plymouth for April 2gth, when I urged the 
strict adherence to this pledge of support. I said: 

So long as the question before the country is a clear 
and distinct issue of the maintenance or overthrow of the 
unimpaired authority of the Imperial Parliament, so long 
I will gladly go upon the platform to speak for any Liberal 
who has had the courage to imperil his whole political career 
by taking up a course of patriotic duty. 1 

In May came the decisive debate and division. In the 
debate I followed Henry Campbell-Bannerman. Its issue 
was uncertain until almost the last hour, but when the 
division was taken ninety-two Liberals voted with the 
Opposition, and the Bill was rejected by a majority of 

The expected dissolution followed, and I of course 
became very busy. We had little trouble at Plymouth. 
The Radicals were determined to fight, but they had much 
difficulty in finding candidates, and eventually found a 
very poor pair a respectable baronet from Somersetshire, 
and a Liverpool linen-draper who had become a barrister, 
not nearly so respectable. Both Mr. Parnell and Lord 
Hartington thought it worth while to come down and speak 
at Plymouth. We lost two or three hundred Roman 
Catholic votes, but this was far more than counterbalanced 
by the body of moderate Liberals who under the leadership 
of Mr. John Shelly obeyed Lord Hartington's directions, 
and came over to the Unionist camp. 

We only had one election meeting at Plymouth, but I 
was busy every evening speaking in one of the neighbour- 

1 Public Speeches, 1880-90, p. 103. 


ing constituencies, generally in support of a Liberal mem- 
ber who had voted with us and for whom we wanted to 
secure full Conservative support. Our own polling brought 
us a remarkable victory. The majority of 108 nine months 
before now became a majority of 882, and this time I 
headed my colleague by a few votes, and so became senior 
member for Plymouth. The numbers were : Clarke, 4,137 ; 
Bates, 4,133 ; Stephens, 3,255 ; and Strachey, 3,175. 

I came at once to town, but as soon as the election tur- 
moil was over went quietly back to my work in the Courts. 
I had taken for a few weeks a pleasant house at Staines, 
the vicarage of the then undivided parish; and when the 
sweeping Unionist victory brought Lord Salisbury back 
to office, and discussions began again as to appointments in 
the new Ministry, I carefully absented myself from the 
political clubs. But this time I was not passed over. 
Randolph Churchill was to be Chancellor of the Exchequer 
and to lead the House of Commons, and he said he would 
not do this if I were sitting behind him as a private mem- 
ber. So it was arranged that Gorst should take political 
office. I went down to Staines on the evening of August 2nd, 
and as I was walking to the vicarage my wife met me with 
a letter from Lord Salisbury. 


August 2nd, 1886. 


Sir John Gorst has intimated his preference for a 
political career, and has accepted political office. 

Under these circumstances I naturally turn to you in the 
hope that you will accept the office of Solicitor-General 
in the Government which I am forming. We shall be 
very glad of the assistance of your great parliamentary 
powers in the hard battle which lies before us. 

Believe me, 

Yours very truly, 


It was a satisfaction to me when I met Lord Randolph 
to hear him say, " Why, wherever have you been, Clarke ? 
We did not know what had become of you." 


I went down to Plymouth for re-election, and was 
returned unopposed. It was my sixth election in six years 
and a half, and the first which was uncon tested. 

The election was declared at 2 o'clock ; I caught the 
train at eight minutes past, dressed in the railway carriage, 
and went straight to the Mansion House, where the Lord 
Mayor was that night entertaining the new Ministers. 
When I entered the Egyptian Hall, Lord Salisbury was 
speaking, and was interrupted by a burst of cheering. 
" What is it ? " he asked of his neighbour. " Your new 

A very pleasant incident came a little later which may 
fitly close this chapter. The Mayor of Plymouth, Mr. 
William Algar, was a Liberal, but he immediately suggested 
that all political parties should join in giving me a public 
dinner of congratulation on my appointment. The sug- 
gestion was very cordially accepted, and on October iQth 
300 of the leading townsmen sat down to dinner in the 
fine Guildhall ; my wife and a crowd of ladies looked down 
from the gallery ; and my heart filled with pride and grati- 
tude when I felt I had achieved one of the ambitions of my 
life, and that in securing the unstinted confidence of my 
political friends I had not forfeited the personal goodwill 
of my keenest opponents. 



I THINK I cannot do better than begin this chapter by 
quoting a few sentences from my speech at the dinner 
which I have just described. 

Mr. Mayor, the office to which I have been appointed is 
not in itself an essentially political office. Its duties are 
very varied and are very important. The Law Officers have 
to advise the Government of the day upon the interpreta- 
tion of treaties ; they have to advise upon the Acts which 
regulate the powers and authority of municipal bodies and 
bodies of local government in this country. They are 
constantly consulted with regard to the rights of British 
subjects in foreign lands, and the rights of foreign subjects 
who come within our territories. In Parliament their 
action is not of a distinctly political kind. It is their duty 
to advise the Government of the day with regard to all 
measures which deal with the administration or the im- 
provement of the law, and to take charge and conduct of 
these measures in the House of Commons. It is their 
duty to acquaint themselves with all the proposals that 
are made by private members in the House, and to advise 
the Government with regard to the effect of those Bills 
upon the law and as to their compatibility with the system 
of legislation and the policy which has been adopted. And 
I am very glad to believe that in Parliament my work will 
be but little connected with the controversies of political 
parties. Unfortunately, for years past, measures which 
involve no party questions at all have been Ipst and have 
gone to pieces on the shoals and quicksands of the diffi- 
culties of parliamentary life. There they remain pro- 
posed sometimes by one party, sometimes by another, 
but never carried into effect ; and it is my hope as I 



know it is the hope of my friend and colleague, the Attorney- 
General that we may be able to rescue some of those 
proposals from the disasters which have befallen them, 
and to carry into effect some useful measures for the ad- 
vantage of the country. 

There is another duty which falls on the Solicitor-General, 
along with the Attorney-General. They are the leaders of 
the Bar. 

It is a proud position, and it involves great responsibility. 
They have the right to assert for the Bar, and with all 
respect to defend and insist upon, the right of the Bar to 
fair and courteous audience on the part of the judges ; 
and, on the other hand, it falls upon them, as one of their 
great duties, that they shall in their own conduct set an 
example to the Bar which they have the honour to lead 
that they shall show by their own act and deed that it 
is possible, as I am sure it is, to combine the most zealous 
and industrious advocacy as an advocate at the Bar 
with the most scrupulous and delicate sense of honour 
that ever was felt by an English gentleman. Sir, these 
are great duties and great responsibilities, and I am glad 
indeed to be strengthened in undertaking them and in 
advancing on that work by the sympathy and support 
of the brilliant gathering of Plymouth men who are met 
now within this hall. 

I should be untrue to myself, and I should be untrue to 
those who have trusted me and honour me to-night, if I 
did not look upon this appointment which I have received 
rather as a means of doing public service than as a mere 
gratification of individual ambition. Of course it is the 
gratification of ambition. No man could have worked as 
I have worked since I came to the Bar and not feel what 
I will not say is pardonable for I will not think it needs 
to be pardoned but will not feel a personal gratification 
in attaining to the position which has been given to me. 
But I hope and believe that I prize that position chiefly 
because it takes me away, as it were, from the mere work- 
ing for myself, to a position which may give me the oppor- 
tunity of doing something which may be valuable to my 
profession and valuable to my fellow-countrymen. 

And if I were to neglect any opportunity of doing public 
service, I should be not only untrue to my own ideal and 
untrue to that opinion which you have formed of me, but 

1886-90] LAW OFFICE 259 

I should be most ungrateful to that Providence which 
has pursued my course since I was called to the Bar 
with unexpected and unlooked-for opportunities of success, 
which have not been given to others as worthy of such 
opportunities as I myself could possibly have been. It is 
in that spirit and with those hopes that I have accepted 
the office of Solicitor, and that I receive the kind and 
generous compliment which you pay to me to-night. 

For six years a longer period of office than any former 
Solicitor-General had enjoyed I had to perform these 
varied duties ; and I have often wondered how my colleague 
and I were able to continue so long the heavy work which 
during those anxious years was thrown upon us. At that 
time the Law Officers were allowed to take private prac- 
tice, but it was of course necessary for me to take some 
means of reducing this, which in my case had risen to 
9,500 a year, in order to prevent its interference with 
official work. So I made a rule that in future I would not 
take any brief with a smaller fee than one hundred guineas, 
which might be, if the client desired, a brief fee of fifty and 
a special fee of the same amount. 

This rule saved so much trouble that when I left office 
I still continued it, so that for twenty-eight out of my fifty 
years at the Bar my minimum fee was one hundred guineas. 
My average income for the six years was 17,500, of which 
6,000 was the official salary, while the fees for Govern- 
ment cases averaged about 3,000. 

My relations with my legal colleague were very pleasant. 
Webster was a man of extraordinary industry ; his patience 
and courtesy never failed, and his business-like methods 
lightened the burden of our very heavy work. 

Our private practice was never allowed to interfere with 
our work as Law Officers, and for regulating that work he 
established a practical and satisfactory system. No Law 
Officers' Department then existed, but a very capable clerk, 
who afterwards became the Chief Permanent Clerk of that 
Department, was engaged, and his salary was paid in equal 
shares by my colleague and myself. He kept a register of 


all the papers sent to the Law Officers for their opinion in 
non-contentious cases, which amounted to several hundreds 
in the course of the year. The papers being received and 
the date registered, they were sent alternately to the 
Attorney and the Solicitor. When the opinion was written, 
it was sent to Mr. Abbs, and he, noting the date of return, 
passed it on to the other Law Officer. If he concurred in 
the opinion he added his signature, and it passed again 
through the hands of Mr. Abbs to the proper department, 
the date of its delivery being duly registered. If the 
matter required discussion we met at the Attorney-General's 
room at the Law Courts or the House of Commons. I have 
no record by me, but I think there were scarcely any cases 
during our six years of office in which, however important 
the question, the papers remained in our hands for more 
than a fortnight. It is interesting to remember that the 
case upon which we spent more time than upon any other 
was a proposal by the German Government to establish 
in foreign countries consular protectorates, and to give 
to the tribunal of the protectorate jurisdiction over persons 
of whatever nationality residing in the area of the Consu- 
late. The proposal was of course rejected by the English 

I think that during our time of office there was hardly 
a single case on which, after discussion, we were not able 
to write a joint opinion ; and as far as I remember the only 
question on which we found it impossible to agree was 
whether the expression " the coloured races " did or did not 
include the Japanese. I held that it did. 

Our first official consultation was an interesting one: 
it concerned the case of Sir Charles Dilke. 

At the first hearing of the Crawford divorce case Sir 
Charles, the co-respondent, either because he and his coun- 
sel, Sir Charles Russell, knew that the charge against him 
was true, or in consequence of bad advice from Sir Henry 
James and Mr. Chamberlain, did not tender himself as a 
witness. And because there was no sufficient corrobora- 
tion of the confession of Mrs. Crawford, the strange result 

1886-90] SIR CHARLES DILKE 261 

was that the jury found that she had committed adultery 
with Sir Charles Dilke and that he had not committed 
adultery with her. To the public mind the fact that Sir 
Charles did not deny the charge appeared to be an admis- 
sion of its truth. The immediate consequences to him, 
political and social, were exactly the same as if he had 
given evidence and not been believed. His advisers, curi- 
ously enough, did not seem to have foreseen this, and, 
Russell having become Attorney-General, an attempt was 
made to rehabilitate Sir Charles Dilke by an intervention 
of the Queen's Proctor, alleging that the verdict was con- 
trary to the justice of the case, and that it was obtained 
by the suppression of material facts. Of this second alle- 
gation there was very little evidence. At the second trial 
Sir Charles Dilke was the first witness called, and he gave 
an entire denial to the charge of adultery, but after listen- 
ing to witnesses on both sides for several days the jury 
without hesitation found that the previous verdict was 
not contrary to the justice of the case. Then it was sug- 
gested that Sir Charles Dilke should be indicted for perjury. 
At such a trial he could not give evidence, and so would be 
saved from cross-examination, while the fact that he had 
already denied the charge against him on oath would be 
strongly pressed in his favour, and indeed was the very 
foundation of the criminal proceedings, and the jury 
would be told to give him the benefit of any reasonable 
doubt. It was very unlikely that a jury would agree to 

Sir Charles Dilke had written to Webster, and this was 
the first case on which we consulted. Of course we refused 
to go on with a sham prosecution instituted with the desire 
and intention that it should fail. 

Our early years of office were very laborious. The par- 
liamentary session of 1887 was the longest continuous session 
that had been known for fifty years. There were 130 
evening sittings, and the House sat 280 hours after mid- 
night, so that the average time of rising during the whole 
session was about a quarter past two in the morning. 


These late hours were more trying to Webster than to 
me, for our habits of work had been different. He had 
been used to go to bed quite early, to rise at five or six, 
to make his coffee and go to work, and spend a couple of 
hours with his papers before going out for his morning 
exercise. My habit, on the other hand, was never to go to 
bed until I was absolutely ready for the work to be done 
in court on the following day. I have often stayed up 
working until three or four in the morning, and then slept 
until the last moment which made it possible for me to be 
punctual at consultation or in court. I used to find that 
the facts and arguments I had been considering at night 
arranged themselves in the mind in the hours of sleep. 

The nearest approach I had to a personal difference 
with Webster during our six years of office was when he 
appointed a consultation for half -past eight in the morning 
and I flatly refused to attend it. 

The years from 1886 to 1892 were singularly free from 
foreign troubles. But I remember three occasions on each 
of which there was a short period of acute anxiety. One 
day a message came from the admiral commanding on the 
Pacific station, saying that he had news that an English 
fishing vessel had been seized for some alleged violation 
of treaty rights by an American ship of war, and that he 
was starting to endeavour to intercept the vessels, resolved 
to free the captured vessel by force if necessary. Another 
time a fugitive accused of crime had taken shelter in the 
house of our consul at Tunis, and the French authorities 
demanded his surrender and threatened to take him by 
force. On the third occasion a war with Portugal was 
still more narrowly averted. I do not recollect the exact 
reason of the quarrel. There had been difficulties about 
certain oyster fisheries, and I remember the papers being 
sent to the Law Officers for advice. On one paper was 
endorsed in red in Lord Salisbury's very clear handwriting : 

We may have to go to war with Portugal, but it will not 
be about oyster-shells. S. 


But whatever the cause we came to the very verge of 
war. Arrangements were made by which in a few days 
all the colonial possessions of Portugal would have been 
seized. Admiral Fremantle was in command on the coast 
of East Africa. Ships were summoned from other stations 
to meet him, and he was instructed that at a certain date 
his force should be assembled and the orders issued for 
immediate action. 

It was only on the very morning of the appointed day 
that he received a message that Portugal had given way. 
The relations between the two countries were for some years 
strained and formal, and it was not until 1893, when 
Sir James Fergusson was sent on a friendly visit to Lisbon, 
that the customary presence of a British ship in the Tagus 
was resumed. 

Before the Government had been six months in office 
an event happened which for a few weeks made it seem 
very likely that we should prove to be what our opponents 
had tauntingly called us a mere " Ministry of caretakers/' 
Lord Randolph Churchill, who during the short autumn 
session of 1886 had led the House of Commons with re- 
markable and quite unexpected tact and dignity, was not 
content with having ousted Sir Stafford Northcote from 
the leadership of the House. There were yet two powerful 
members of " the old gang " (to use his own phrase, which 
has often proved useful since) to be got rid of Mr. Smith 
and Lord George Hamilton and his sudden resignation two 
days before Christmas compelled Lord Salisbury to make 
immediate choice between his powerful new lieutenant and 
two of his most faithful and experienced colleagues. The 
Prime Minister did not hesitate. He gave no room for 
discussion, and simply accepted the resignation. 

For a time it looked as if the Government must fall. 
Lord Salisbury evidently thought it in extreme danger, 
for he made the strange offer to Lord Hartington to make 
way for him and serve in a Cabinet of which Lord Harting- 
ton should be the head. 

The offer cannot have been made with any expectation, 


certainly not with any desire, that it should be accepted. 
There had been sharper personal conflict between Mr. 
Chamberlain and Lord Hartington than between either 
of them and their former chief ; it was the clash of their 
irreconcilable opinions that had broken up the Liberal 
Government in 1885 ; and if Lord Hartington, with Lord 
Northbrook and Lord Lansdowne, who were included in 
the invitation, had become leading members of the Ministry, 
Mr. Chamberlain and all that strong body of Radical 
opinion which he represented would at once have found a 
way of returning to the fold they had quitted. How great 
the danger was very quickly appeared. 

On the very day that Lord Randolph's resignation was 
announced Mr. Chamberlain made overtures for reunion, 
which were promptly accepted, and a little later Mr. Cham- 
berlain and Sir William Harcourt, Mr. George Trevelyan 
and Mr. Morley, met at the Round Table Conference. Cham- 
berlain submitted to them his plan of National Councils 
at Dublin and Belfast, or preferably one Council at Dublin, 
with large powers of administration and certain limited 
powers of legislation, subject to the approval, tacit or 
expressed, of the English Parliament. 

The reason that conference failed was the subject of 
voluminous and quite unintelligible explanations by every- 
body concerned. Whether the effective cause was a violent 
article in The Baptist by Mr. Chamberlain, or a refusal by 
Mr. Gladstone to sanction the continuance of the discus- 
sion, will never be known probably both contributed to 
the very definite result, which was an absolute and final 
abandonment of every attempt at reconciliation. From 
that time to the end of the Parliament more than five years 
later, although the Whig and Radical leaders never ceased 
to display on public platforms their differences with regard 
to English politics, the whole body of their followers were 
the loyal and steady supporters of the Ministry in its firm 
enforcement of resolute government in Ireland. 

And for several years Ireland occupied practically the 
whole time of Parliament. It was not without some strange 


departures from the customary practice of the House of 
Commons that after long struggle the Government suc- 
ceeded in passing a Crimes Bill of exceptional stringency. 
They were helped by the behaviour, always violent and 
sometimes disreputable, of the Nationalist members, which 
outraged the opinion of the country and irritated the 
patience of the House. 

In these Irish debates Webster and I took an active 

I think that the day on which I rendered my greatest 
service to the Conservative party, excepting perhaps my 
speech on the second Home Rule Bill in 1893, was May 4th, 

Two months earlier The Times had commenced the pub- 
lication of a series of articles on " Parnellism and Crime/ 1 
which were intended to show that Parnell and his associates 
were directly responsible for the murder and outrage which 
had made it impossible to govern Ireland by any ordinary 
law. For a time no specific charge was made against the 
Irish leader ; but on April i8th, the day of the division on 
the second reading of the Crimes Bill, there appeared in 
The Times what purported to be a facsimile of a letter 
written by Parnell in 1882, in which he made a sort of 
apology for having condemned the Phoenix Park murders, 
and said that, while he regretted that Lord Frederick 
Cavendish had been accidentally killed, he admitted that 
Burke got no more than his deserts. 

Parnell spoke that night just before the end of the debate 
and declared the letter to be a fabrication. But the 
strange way in which he dealt with it made most of his 
hearers believe that directly or indirectly he was responsible 
for the document. He drew a sharp distinction between 
the letter which was on the first page of the notepaper, 
and which was not suggested to be in his handwriting, and 
the few words, " Yours very truly, Charles S. Parnell," 
which were at the top of the fourth page, and which were 
alleged to have been written by him. As to these few 
words he said the signature was unlike his, and curiously 


enough pointed to its free and flowing character as evidence 
that it was a forgery. As to the letter he said, " I certainly 
never heard of the letter. I never directed such a letter 
to be written. I never saw such a letter before I saw it 
in The Times:' He said, " When I heard of the letter I 
supposed that some autograph of mine had fallen into the 
hands of some person for whom it had not been intended, 
and that it had been made use of in this way. I supposed 
that some blank sheet containing my signature, such as 
many members who are asked for their signatures fre- 
quently send I supposed that such a blank sheet had 
fallen into hands for which it had not been intended, and 
that it had been misused in this fashion, or that something 
of this kind had happened/' 

The House sat amazed. The Irish member (Mr. Har- 
rington) who had called Parnell's attention to the matter 
was nearly right in thinking that if that was the way his 
leader was going to deal with the matter in the House 
there was not an Englishman who would not believe that 
he wrote the letter. 1 I remember the remarkable scene, 
the strained silence while this curious speech was made; 
and I know the almost universal belief was that he had 
suggested the true explanation, and that a genuine signa- 
ture had, with or without his knowledge and consent, been 
used for the purpose of giving authority to the letter. 

This belief deepened as time went on, and the Irish 
leader took no step to vindicate himself. He brought no 
action, he instituted no prosecution, he made no claim in 
the House for an investigation by which his character 
might be cleared. It is only fair to him that it should be 
remembered that his inaction was in great measure due to 
the urgent and persistent advice of Mr. Morley and Sir 
Charles Russell and a third member of the House of Com- 
mons, with whom he took counsel. But, by whomsoever 
prompted, his conduct was generally taken as confirming 
the opinion which had been suggested by his speech in the 
House of Commons, and it was not until fifteen months 
1 Lift of Charles Stewart Parnell, O'Brien, ch. ii, p. 199. 


afterwards, in circumstances hereafter to be noted, that the 
question of his responsibility for this letter was reopened. 

But a fortnight later, through the indiscretion of one of 
its own supporters, the Government was suddenly brought 
into a position of difficulty, and even of some danger. 
There sat in the House Sir Charles Lewis, a dull, well- 
meaning old solicitor, one of the steady, silent voters dear 
to parliamentary whips, one of the last men from whom 
any inconvenient independent action could be feared. A 
couple of months earlier he, for long service rendered to 
the party in electioneering matters, had been made a 
baronet, and the hereditary dignity probably disturbed his 
judgement, for on May 2nd, seeing in an article of The Times 
a statement that Mr. Dillon, speaking in the House of 
Commons, had untruly charged The Times with falsehood, 
he resolved to bring the matter before the House by charg- 
ing the editor of The Times with a breach of privilege. 

He wrote to the Speaker, intimating his intention. He 
wrote also to the Leader of the House, and Mr. Smith at 
once wrote back, begging him to do nothing of the kind. 
But it was too late. He had written at the same time to 
Mr. Dillon. So on Tuesday, May 3rd, at the beginning of 
the sitting, as a matter of privilege and without public 
notice, he called attention to The Times article and asked 
that it be read by the clerk at the table. This was done, 
and the next step, if the House agreed that a breach of 
privilege had been committed, would be to order the printer 
of The Times, the article being anonymous, to attend at 
the Bar of the House to receive sentence. The position 
was embarrassing. 

Our supporters were not present in full strength ; it was 
from an old member on our own side that the proposal 
came, and the result of a division was not quite certain. 

Mr. Smith moved the adjournment of the discussion until 
the Thursday. This Gladstone violently resisted, and a 
majority of 39 in favour of an adjournment was only 
secured by agreeing that the debate should be continued 
the next afternoon. 


I had spoken after Mr. Gladstone in this debate on the 
adjournment. Webster and I advised the Government 
that the article did not constitute a breach of privilege, 
and I was commissioned to propose an amendment in that 
sense when the debate was resumed at noon the following 
day. The House did not rise until after two in the morn- 
ing, and from 5 o'clock until then I was at work in the 
Library, examining precedents and previous debates. Be- 
fore I left the House I finished my preparation, but I did 
not get much time for sleep that night, as I had a good deal 
of work to do after I got home, having next morning to 
open a heavy case of alleged fraud in the promotion of a 
public company, which took Mr. Justice Grove and a special 
jury six days to try. 

I opened my case and hurried down to the House. It 
was a little before noon when I got there, and as I went 
in I met Mr. Akers-Douglas. Said he, " The Ministers are 
at Smith's room ; I think they mean to give way." I 
asked to be allowed to go in, and I was admitted, and Mr. 
Smith told me they had decided not to resist the motion 
and to consent to the appointment of a Select Committee. 
I said that of course I had no right to give an opinion, but 
I hoped they would let me say a word or two before they 
finally decided. I do not remember all the Ministers who 
were present, but certainly Mr. Goschen, Lord George 
Hamilton, and Lord John Manners were among them. 
They invited me to speak, and I said a good many words 
in a very short time. I pointed out what would inevitably 
happen : that the first witness called would be the editor 
of The Times ; that he would be called upon to state the 
names of his contributors and his informants ; that ques- 
tions would be asked which he certainly would refuse to 
answer ; that every such refusal and every controversy 
arising in the Committee would at once be brought up in 
the House and be discussed as a matter of privilege. I 
urged that no unanimous report could ever be expected, 
and that the whole work of the session would be broken 
up. To my great delight they gave way, revoked their 

i886-go] THE END OF A BUSY DAY 269 

decision, and sent me into the House to move the amend- 
ment, which was eventually carried by 317 to 233. 

A curious little incident occurred after I went into the 

Lord Randolph Churchill used to sit at the end of the 
second bench above the gangway, and Ministers were ner- 
vously anxious not to offend him, so they showed him the 
terms of my amendment, which declared that the article 
in The Times was not a breach of privilege. He said he 
would not support it in that form, so it was altered at the 
very moment I rose to speak into a statement that the 
House declined to treat it as a breach of privilege. 

The House rose at 6 o'clock, and an hour later I was at 
Willis's Rooms at the dinner of the Royal Literary Fund, 
where Lord Lytton was presiding, and there I proposed 
the toast of the Literature of the United Kingdom, to 
which Professor Mahaffy responded. 

So, taking all things together, a good deal of work was 
crowded into about thirty hours. And I feel quite certain 
now that, if that proposal for a Select Committee had been 
carried out, the Ministry would not have survived the 

In my speech, with of course specific instructions from 
Ministers to do so, I repeated an offer made by the leader 
of the House that if Mr. Dillon would move for a prosecu- 
tion of The Times for libel to be instituted that motion 
should be accepted, and, although the Attorney-General 
must nominally be associated with the prosecution, the 
whole conduct of the proceedings should be left to such 
persons as he might nominate, the counsel who would 
appear in court and the solicitors who would prepare the 
case for trial. 

The refusal of this offer deepened the general conviction 
that Parnell and his associates had good reason for dread- 
ing any public investigation. 

With this debate and division any anxiety as to the 
continuance of the Government passed away, and it became 
clear that but for some unexpected accident they would 


remain in office until the end of that Parliament. By 
the end of June the Crimes Bill had passed through the 
House of Commons, and Mr. Balfour had in his hand the 
power which he firmly and courageously used, and which 
at once began to take effect in restoring peace and order 
to the sorely disturbed parts of Ireland. 

A month or two later an Act was passed for amending, 
and in some respects extending, the Act of 1881, especially 
by the admission of leaseholders to its benefits, and by 
provision for the reopening and revision of judicial rents. 
It could not be denied that this was the acceptance of a 
policy which the Tory party had always opposed, and that 
some of the proposals had been only a few weeks before 
violently denounced by the Prime Minister and the Chief 
Secretary. But their adoption was necessary for two reasons. 
One was the extreme poverty, almost amounting to famine, 
of large numbers of the small tenants in Ireland. The 
other was that Lord Hartington and Mr. Chamberlain and 
their followers had been responsible for the Act, which 
had now been in force for seven years, and could have no 
excuse for not pressing for its extension and amendment. 

When I spoke at Plymouth on January 3rd, 1888, I 
was able to say: 

I am glad to know that order is being restored in 
Ireland, that crime in that country is diminishing, that 
the distresses of the people are being relieved, and that 
industry and capital are gaining a little more confidence 
now that they feel that there is a resolute protection behind 
them in the people of this country. 

Next year's session of Parliament was far more peaceful. 
Two valuable measures an Employers' Liability Bill and 
a Bill for permitting accused persons to give evidence in 
their own behalf could not be passed, although valuable 
time had been spent upon them : the foolish rules of the 
House caused that time to be wholly thrown away. But 
a Railway and Canal Traffic Bill of great usefulness was 
passed ; and, much more important still, a sytsem of Local 

1886-90] THE CHANNEL TUNNEL 271 

Government was established for England which has amply 
fulfilled the hopes of its framers. 

Parnell had advised his followers not to obstruct English 
legislation, expressing his belief that when this came to 
be dealt with differences would arise which would tend 
to dissolve the alliance with the Liberal Unionists which 
gave the Government so strong a majority. There were 
indeed some difficulties with regard to the licensing clauses 
of the Local Government Bill, and those clauses had un- 
fortunately to be abandoned ; but nothing serious happened, 
and in July the old question of Parnell' s responsibility for 
the letter which had caused so much excitement a year 
before came back upon the House of Commons. 

Before I pass to that subject I should like to refer to 
the only occasion on which I gave a vote in the House of 
Commons which was directly in conflict with my own 
settled conviction. I had always been a supporter of the 
project of a Channel Tunnel. On one or two occasions I 
had, with my leader's consent, absented myself from the 
House when a division was taken. But in 1888 Mr. Glad- 
stone, who had hitherto opposed the scheme, declared him- 
self a convert, and on June 27th vehemently supported a 
Bill authorising its construction which was introduced by 
Sir Edward Watkin. The Government opposed it, and 
Mr. Smith, who was rather nervous about the result of the 
division, said that now the leader of the Opposition had 
made it a party question he must call upon me to vote 
with my colleagues. In later years the country had great 
reason to deplore the decision at which the House then 

There is another bit of work of mine at this time which 
I should not like to leave without mention, for I hope the 
time is at last coming when it may be found helpful in a 
great and useful reform. I have long felt that the separa- 
tion of the legal profession into two separate branches is 
a real public mischief. I think it was a conversation with 
Judah P. Benjamin, the great American lawyer who came 
to the English Bar after the defeat of the Southern Con- 


federacy, that first convinced me of this. And my view 
was strengthened by the concurrence of Baron Bramwell, 
one of the finest judges I have ever known, and a man of 
singularly clear and independent judgment. I had accepted 
the presidency of the Birmingham Law Students' Society, 
and on January i8th, 1888, I made " The Future of the 
Legal Profession " the subject of my presidential address. 
I then expressed the opinions which all my experience since 
has strongly confirmed, and I hope the long-delayed reform 
may yet be helped by the very careful statement which I 
then made. I was amused on my return to town to get a 
letter from Mr. Smith, nervous as usual, asking me to make 
it clear that I spoke for myself, and not as representing 
the Government. 

In the early part of this year an action for libel, mys- 
terious in its origin and its objects, was brought against 
The Times newspaper. The plaintiff was Mr. Frank Hugh 
O'Donnell, an Irishman of good family and much ability, 
who had been a conspicuous supporter of Mr. Isaac Butt, 
and was for a time a trusted follower and associate of 
Parnell. This relationship had ceased in 1883, and in 
1885 ne retired from Parliament. 

He had been once or twice mentioned in the articles on 
Parnellism and Crime, but not in terms which could reason- 
ably be construed as suggesting that he had been guilty 
of any wrong-doing. 

He wrote to The Times correcting a statement which 
one of their correspondents had made, and The Times com- 
mented on his letter as being the correction of an immaterial 
statement, while other statements which were definite and 
important remained unchallenged. Thereupon he brought 
an action. But he was only the nominal plaintiff. As he 
himself has since stated, " Parnell presided over the whole 
direction of the case." l It was Parnell who " instructed " 
the solicitor to obtain discovery of documents, and dis- 
cussed the employment of Frank Lockwood to lead in the 
case and the payment of his fees out of the Land League 

O'Donnell, History of the Irish Parliamentary Party, ch. ii, p. 239. 

i886-go] A STRANGE TRIAL 273 

funds. He went with the plaintiff's solicitor to the office 
of Mr. Soames, the solicitor to The Times, to inspect the 
documents which had been set out in the defendant's 
affidavit; and there in the most important letter of all 
they noticed the two mistakes of spelling, " inexcuseable " 
and " hesitency," which put them on the track of the 
forger, and were used by Sir Charles Russell with such deadly 
effect when he came to cross-examine Pigott before the 
Special Commission. It was not worth while then to spend 
Land League money in briefing Lockwood, and a very able 
junior, Mr. Ruegg, was entrusted with the case. A few days 
before it came on Sir Charles Russell sent for him and urged 
him on no account to put O'Donnell into the witness-box 
until the case for The Times had been stated and its 
evidence given. It had previously been arranged with the 
solicitor that Parnell was not to be called as a witness 
except in the utmost extremity, as he did not wish to be 
cross-examined. It may be that he was reluctant to 
appear as a witness because he knew of incriminating 
matters which The Times had not found out, and feared 
that his evidence might give the clue to their discovery, 
and this was the explanation then current ; but it must 
now be remembered that he was at this time living with 
Mrs. O'Shea at Brighton, and although this was pretty 
generally known he might well wish to avoid the risk of 
their relations becoming the subject of public discussion. 
The course of the trial before Lord Coleridge on July 3rd, 
4th, and 6th, 1888, was as strange as the inception and con- 
duct of the action had been. Mr. Ruegg, who on Sir Charles 
Russell's advice had determined not to call the plaintiff 
until The Times case was closed, inadvertently said that he 
intended to call him in any event. Lord Coleridge, who 
was trying the case, then pointed out that he ought to call 
him at once, as there was no certainty that the nature of 
The Times evidence would make his evidence in rebuttal 
admissible. The judge pressed him hard, but Sir Charles 
Russell sent him a note in court urging him to be firm 
in his refusal. So after three witnesses had said that they 


understood certain libellous matter to refer to the plaintiff 
his case was closed. 

The course taken by the Attorney-General (Sir Richard 
Webster) was equally strange. He began by saying that 
he would ask the jury to decide upon the merits and the 
evidence ; then he spent two days in reading the whole 
of the articles headed " Parnellism and Crime" ; and then 
said that as these articles were libels on other persons and 
not on the plaintiff he would not call any evidence at all. 
Thereupon the jury promptly found that there was no libel 
upon the plaintiff, and the case was ended. 

On the evening of that day Parnell made a statement in 
the House of Commons, to which The Times replied, main- 
taining its charges. 

On the middle day of this trial I had been very busy in 
the House of Commons in passing through Committee the 
Oaths Bill, which has since prevented the recurrence in 
Parliament or in the Courts of any such difficulty as had 
led to the Bradlaugh controversy. 

My work soon became much heavier, for before the House 
rose an Act was passed setting up a Special Commission 
to inquire into the charges made by The Times. 

The Government were very reluctant to appoint the 
Commission. They rightly held that it was for those who 
complained of being falsely accused to vindicate themselves 
in the Courts by action or by a prosecution. But the repe- 
tition of the charges by the Attorney-General, and the 
unexpected finish of the trial, had undoubtedly caused 
some uneasiness in the public mind, and Chamberlain and 
his friends pressed hard for an inquiry. The idea of a 
Committee was rejected for the reasons I had successfully 
urged in 1887, and a Special Commission was the only 

Webster was not in favour of it, and I was thoroughly 
against it. He wrote to mefrom Scotland on September 3rd: 

I have written to Smith to say that in my opinion I 
ought not to appear before the Commission now that it 
has taken its present shape. Every day I curse Chamber- 

1886-90] MR. PARNELL'S TRIUMPH . 275 

lain and the Unionists for their obstinacy, but perhaps 
they are wiser than I am. 

The Commission sat to settle its procedure on Septem- 
ber I7th, 1888, and its work continued until November 22nd, 
1889, the Report not being issued until February I3th, 1890. 

But no great public interest was taken in the proceed- 
ings after March 6th, 1889, when the grave charges against 
Parnell had collapsed with the flight of Pigott, after he 
had confessed that he was responsible for the forgeries by 
which The Times had been deceived. 

On the day that the counsel for The Times withdrew 
the letters and all the charges founded upon them a remark- 
able scene was witnessed in the House of Commons. I 
quote my description of it from a speech I made at Ply- 
mouth in 1891. 

I witnessed not long ago, in the year 1889, one ver Y 
remarkable scene. The Special Commission had been 
holding its sittings, and during those sittings there had 
been an investigation into what were known as the Pigott 
letters, and the result of their investigation was that the 
letters were admitted by Pigott himself to have been 
forged, and Mr. Parnell was cleared, as the Commission 
afterwards pronounced, of a charge of infamous conduct 
which, if it had been proved, would have disentitled him 
to be accepted as an ally or counsellor upon any question 
of political affairs. But he was cleared of that charge in 
the course of the Commission, and when he came into the 
House of Commons that night one of the most remarkable 
scenes which ever occurred in that House was witnessed. 
As he stepped along the benches to his place the whole of 
the Liberal party above and below the gangway rose to 
do homage to him. There was the stately form of Sir 
William Harcourt who looked inclined to wipe the stain 
of Parnellite juice from the corners of his mouth bend- 
ing in homage to Mr. Parnell ; and there, more remarkable 
still, was that statesman of peerless accomplishments and 
experience, Mr. Gladstone, leaning with his hand upon the 
table, and turning and bowing towards Mr. Parnell. Sir, 
it was an incident which might; have disturbed the balance 
of mind of a smaller man. I saw Mr. Parnell standing 


erect among the whole standing crowd. He took no notice 
of it whatever. He had not asked them to get up. When 
they had finished standing up they sat down, and he 
took no notice of their rising or their sitting down ; and 
when they had resumed their places he proceeded to make 
a perfectly calm and quiet speech, in which he made not 
the smallest reference, direct or indirect, to the incident, 
extraordinary as it was, which had just happened. I 
thought, as I looked at him that night, that that man was 
a born leader of men calm, self-confident, and powerful ; 
and depend upon it that, so long as Mr. Parnell lives, he 
is a living force with whom the Gladstonians will have to 
reckon if they want to enter into alliances for the sake of 
Home Rule. 1 

From this period Parnell's position steadily improved 
and that of the Government became more and more dim- 
cult. There was no fear of their being ejected from office 
on a party vote, for on any vital issue the Liberal Unionists 
would always rally to their support; but the Nationalists 
followed the wise advice of their leader, not to push Irish 
questions to the front, but to find opportunities for em- 
barrassing the Ministry in questions of English legislation. 
In 1889 the Budget proposals as to the taxation of spirit 
were skilfully used for this purpose. Meanwhile Parnell had 
been publicly reconciled with Lord Spencer, and towards 
the close of the year was invited to stay at Hawarden. The 
tone of his speeches was greatly changed. On Decem- 
ber i6th, the day before he went to be Mr. Gladstone's 
guest, he made a remarkable speech at Nottingham, which 
showed how far he had travelled since his speech at the 
Boston Convention five years before. There he had said : 

We will work as long as we have life for the consumma- 
tion of that object for which our fathers worked, until we 
have made Ireland a nation and given her a harp without 
a crown. 

Now at Nottingham he disavowed any desire for the 

separation of the two countries, and said he would not ask 

1 Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 7. 


even for the restoration of Grattan's Parliament, because 
that gave the Irish the power of separate action on mili- 
tary matters. At Hawarden he had two hours' talk with 
Gladstone on each of two successive days, and the Liberal 
leader found him " one of the very best people to deal 
with that he had ever known." He was at the top of his 
fortunes. Welcomed in every gathering of English Liberals, 
followed with obsequious loyalty by his own supporters, 
received in friendly conference by the venerable leader of 
the Liberal party, confident that they united would carry 
forward to success the once defeated scheme, it looked 
scarcely possible that anything could now stay his trium- 
phant course. 

But the punishment of sin was at hand. At the very 
hour when the two statesmen sat together in the drawing- 
room at Hawarden planning how to use the great majority 
which their well-justified hopes looked forward to in the 
next Parliament, which they thought could not be long 
postponed, the first steps were being taken in the proceed- 
ings which within eleven months were to drive him out into 
the storm, outlawed by the Liberals, abused and insulted 
by the men he had led, to struggle on for a few wild months 
of frenzy and disease and then to pass to his grave. 

I had no part in the case of O'Donnell v. Walter or in the 
proceedings of the Special Commission, but in July 1889 
I went to Manchester as counsel for the Prime Minister in 
a very interesting case which gave me the welcome oppor- 
tunity of cross-examining one of the most violent of the 
Irish agitators. In the previous September Lord Salis- 
bury, speaking at Watford and commenting on an incen- 
diary speech made at Tipperary by Mr. William O'Brien, 
charged him, in language of characteristic precision, with 
having urged that men who took unlet farms should be 
treated as they had been treated during the last ten years 
in the locality in which he spoke, " that is to say, that 
they should be murdered, robbed, their cattle shot and 
ill-treated, and their farms devastated." Mr. O'Brien 
brought an action, claimed 10,000 damages, and laid the 



venue of trial at Manchester, where it was quite reasonably 
supposed an impartial jury might be obtained. The plead- 
ings had been completed before I was consulted, and when 
I saw my brief I found that the first paragraph of the 
statement of defence set out that the defendant was a 
member of the House of Peers. The next paragraph stated 
that his speech was a fair comment on matters of public 
notoriety and concern. It appeared to be intended to 
raise some sort of defence of privilege on the ground 
of Lord Salisbury's rank and position. To this I at 
once objected. I told Sir Richard Nicholson, Lord 
Salisbury's solicitor, that the right course for the Prime 
Minister was either to admit that he had been mistaken 
and make a full apology, or to say that what he said 
was true and that he was prepared to prove it. Sir 
Richard said that had been considered, but that it was 
felt that if a plea of justification were set up and failed 
the damages would probably be enormous. He felt that 
no such step could be taken without positive instructions 
from his client. I asked to see Lord Salisbury, and we 
had a long talk with him in his room at the House of Lords. 
He listened attentively while the arguments on each side 
were put before him, and then said that he wished that 
the pleadings should be altered, and the question of truth 
or untruth fought out, no question of privilege being 
raised. This was done, and it was with a feeling of heavy 
responsibility that I went to Manchester to lead for the 

The trial began on July igth, the day on which Parnell 
received the freedom of the city of Edinburgh, which had 
been voted to him by the town council, although a plebiscite 
of the municipal electors, privately taken, had shown an 
overwhelming majority against it. My juniors were Ambrose, 
Q.C. (then or afterwards M.P. for the Harrow division 
of Middlesex, Danckwerts (who drew the original pleadings), 
and Lord Robert Cecil, who had been called to the Bar 
a few months before his father made the Watford speech : 
a young junior counsel on the circuit was also briefed. On 


the other side were Gully, Q.C. (afterwards Speaker of the 
House of Commons, and later created Lord Selby), Big- 
ham, Q.C. (afterwards President of the Probate Division, 
and later Lord Mersey), two of the leaders of the Northern 
Circuit, and a junior named Anderson. The judge was 
Fitzjames Stephen, who in his prime was one of the finest 
judges who ever sat on the English Bench. At this time his 
powers were failing; and our anxieties were increased by 
some peculiarities in his behaviour, which soon after became 
painfully marked. Our first difficulty was with regard to 
the jury, for public feeling in Manchester was very sharply 
divided, and Gully and I both feared that the case might 
have an unsatisfactory ending in the failure of the jury 
to agree upon a verdict. However, we agreed that there 
should be no challenges ; and the first twelve special jurors 
called were impanelled to try the case. 

The trial lasted three days. The plaintiff was called 
and briefly examined in chief, and my cross-examination 
filled five columns of 7 he Times. I stated our case, and 
then we called witnesses, who gave evidence of a system 
of intimidation and outrage and murder, of the most 
cruel boycotting, of callous and inhuman behaviour to the 
relatives of those who had been murdered, a story which 
had never been told with such distinctness, and which, told 
as it now was in brief consecutive narrative, made an 
immense impression on the jury, and afterwards on the 
country. We went on until Gully, seeing the effect that 
was being produced, and seeing that cross-examination 
only gave fresh force and emphasis to the evidence, ceased 
to cross-examine, and admitted that there had been a 
formidable number of outrages in Ireland. I had still 
sixteen or seventeen witnesses to call, but I dispensed with 
them, and after our closing speeches and the judge's sum- 
ming up the jury went out to consider their verdict. They 
had hardly time to go to their room to consult, for in six 
minutes they were back in court with a verdict for Lord 
Salisbury. The streets of Manchester were thronged, and 
before I could get back to the Queen's Hotel the news- 


paper boys were selling the reports of the closing scenes 
in court as fast as they could hand out the papers from 
the carts. Stephen went on to Liverpool to try Mrs. 
Maybrick, and was hooted in the streets by the Irishmen. 
A letter of warm thanks came to me from my grateful 

Lady Clarke was at the time staying at Hygeia House, 
Staines, which I had rented for July and August. I of 
course had to stay a good deal in town, and a few sentences 
from my daily letters from the House of Commons may 
relieve the dullness of a political narrative. 

Tuesday, July 2$rd, 1889. 

I have had my fill of praise and congratulation since 
I came to town yesterday. The people here seem very 
delighted and a little surprised at the Manchester victory, 
and are very enthusiastic about it. I have been pretty 
busy these two days. Yesterday I was fighting Henry 
James in a will case, and beat him ; and to-day I have been 
in Chancery for the Coal Consumers' Co., and have done very 
well for them. . . . Last night I went to the St. Stephen's 
Club to a dinner (private) at which Mr. Balfour was speak- 
ing, but it was rather a hardworking sort of repast, for 
three times the division bell brought us running over to 
the House. We are getting to the end of the Scotch Bills, 
but our opponents seem resolved to give us as much trouble 
as they can. 

August 2nd, 1889. 

We are spending the evening here with little debate 
and many divisions, and since I began this I have been 
called away to one useless march round the lobbies. The 
only interest about them is to see Mr. Gladstone, looking 
terribly worn and tired, marching along among us, carrying 
his blotting-pad and half-written letters with him, and 
without a single one of his old colleagues to keep him com- 
pany. 1 They are all staying away from the House, and 
this last night of the session, as far as he is concerned (for 
he goes to Hawarden to-morrow), he is quite deserted. 

1 The divisions were upon the Tithes Bill. 


August 6th, 1889. 


I have very nearly missed the post again this even- 
ing, for about an hour ago I went into the House, and 
thought I would stay and listen to the debate. The Irish 
Estimates are on, and one MacNeill (we call him Pongo) 
was raging away about the arrest of Father McFadden. He 
sent me off into a sweet sleep on the Treasury bench, and 
I do not know how long it would have lasted had not Sir 
Herbert Maxwell woke me up for a business matter he 
wanted to see me about. You would not have missed any 
news. Percival will have brought you reports from Russell 
Square, and Rosher l will have told you how little has been 
doing in court. 

But you can at least have a message of love from me. 
My letter would be full of " yesterday " and " to-morrow " 
the yesterday when I saw you and the to-morrow when we 
shall meet again. But memories and expectations are 
both of them too copious and too sweet for expression ; 
so I only say, I look forward to being with my love as early 
as I can to-morrow. 

Ever fondly yours, 

E. C. 

August gth, 1889. 

We are having very lively times in the House, and last 
night were within an ace of having a free fight in front of 
the Chair. Harrington threw down his hat, and stepped 
out into the gangway with the full intention of rushing at 
Balfour, but thought better of it just in time. 

A good many of the Irishmen had had too much to drink, 
and Parnell has gone off to Ireland to shoot grouse (I am 
told), and left them with orders to keep up the fight. 

August itfh, 1889. 

We had a pretty lively evening here yesterday, for in one 
division the majority was only four, and even that was 
better than some of our friends expected. So you see my 
vote was really of consequence. As I could not be with 
you I honoured the day 2 by standing grouse and cham- 
pagne to fifteen of my colleagues. When the birds were 

1 G. B. Rosher, an old pupil, who helped me for many years, 
3 Our wedding day. 


killed I do not know, but they were in very good condition. 
. . . We have just had another division, but we have got 
back to majorities of about thirty, so the excitement has 
rather gone off. 

August i6th, 1889. 

We have just been having a particularly interesting dis- 
cussion in the House, and the result of it is that the Tithes 
Bill is withdrawn, the Estimates are to be got through as 
soon as possible, and we can pretty well see our way to 
winding up the session. I fear, however, that will take us 
a full fortnight, and that we shall probably only get free 
the day after the Staines tenancy expires. It is very vexing 
to think that we might probably have got away to-morrow, 
if we had not brought in that unfortunate Bill. To have 
spent all this time in failing to pass it is really too sad. 

In December I had a letter from Mr. Joseph Soames, 
asking me to accept the leading brief for The Times in the 
action for libel which had been brought against them by 
Mr. Parnell, and which was to come on for trial soon after 
Christmas. Sir Henry James and Mr. George Askwith 
were to be my juniors. I wrote to Lord Salisbury, asking 
what he would wish me to do, and he, after consultation 
with Mr. Smith, replied leaving the matter entirely to my 
decision. I thereupon refused the brief. I reproduce the 
letter in which I told the Prime Minister of this, for there 
are a few words in it which will explain my refusal six years 
later to resume the post of Solicitor-General. 


December 2jth t 1889. 


I am very much obliged by your most kind and 
considerate letter, and hope you will not think that I 
troubled you unnecessarily when you hear that, under- 
standing that you leave me full liberty of action, I have 
decided to refuse the brief offered me by The Times. Dur- 
ing the last few days I have thought much over the different 
aspects of the question, and I cannot help thinking that 
by now accepting the position of counsel for The Times in 
such a case as this I should run a risk, however remote, 

1886-90] O'SHEA V. O'SHEA AND PARNELL 283 

of disabling myself from rendering effective service to the 
Government. Until the report of the Special Commission 
is published it is impossible to forecast what action the 
Government may find it necessary or convenient to take, 
and I fear that some of our friends in the House of Com- 
mons would not understand, and would be inclined to 
resent, my putting it in the power of our opponents to say 
that both the Law Officers were in the pay of The ' imes. 

The Attorney-General had no reason for refusing the 
brief in O'Donnell v. Walter, for he could not foresee to 
what it might lead ; but the same excuse would not avail 
for me. Again, I fear my action might do much to strengthen 
the proposal, which I think a mischievous one, although 
it could hardly affect me personally, that the Law Officers 
should be forbidden to take private practice. The interests 
of The Times are quite safe in the hands of Sir Henry James ; 
and although I lose an opportunity of distinction, that is 
after all a very small matter. 

On February 4th, 1890 (curiously enough it was on the 
very day that The Times announced the settlement of the 
Parnell libel case by an agreed verdict for 5,000), Lewis 
Coward came over to my room at the Law Courts to tell 
me that he had a very important divorce case in hand 
which gave him much anxiety, and he had told his solicitor 
client that he did not wish to take any further step in it 
without having a consultation with the leader who would 
have to conduct it in court. It was the application of 
Captain O'Shea for a divorce from his wife on the ground 
of her adultery with Mr. Parnell. The petition had already 
been filed. I learned afterwards from Captain O'Shea that 
in October or November of the previous year he had be- 
come aware that adulterous relations existed between his 
wife and the Irish leader. He had gone into a room 
adjoining her bedroom at Walsingham Terrace, Brighton, 
and had there found Mr. Parneirs dressing utensils and 
some of his clothes. He spoke to a friend about the dis- 
covery, and was advised to lay it before Cardinal Manning, 
as the rules of the Roman Church, to which he and his wife 
both belonged, forbade any resort to the Divorce Court. 


Together with his statement he sent to the Cardinal copies 
of certain incriminating letters which had somehow come 
into his possession. He told me that a fortnight later he 
was glad he had taken the precaution only to send copies, 
for he found that the Cardinal had consulted Sir Charles 
Russell and Mr. George Lewis, and the documents had been 
shown to them. Indignant at this, he demanded their 
return, and determined to sue for a divorce. 

Strangely enough, he went with his papers to Mr. Joseph 
Soames, the solicitor for The Times, who had conducted 
their case before the Special Commission, which had not 
yet reported, and, more strangely still, that very dull but 
respectable solicitor accepted his instructions, and the cita- 
tion was actually issued by him. The impropriety, to say 
the least of it, of his acting in such a case at such a time, 
however, soon occurred to Mr. Soames, or was suggested to 
him, and he advised the Captain to employ some one else. 
But, with marvellous ill judgement, he suggested the name 
of Mr. Day, a young solicitor of only ten months' standing, 
who, apart from his inexperience, was the most unfit man, 
except Mr. Soames himself, who could possibly have been 
employed, for he was the son of Mr. Justice Day, one of 
the Special Commissioners, and himself, as was his son, a 
Roman Catholic. Day retained me and instructed Lewis 
Coward, and the petition was filed, and then Coward 
suggested an immediate consultation with me. 

Day came to consultation, and I at once asked where the 
original letters were which might be of so much importance. 

" Oh," said Day, " here they are," and putting his hand 
into the breast pocket of his coat produced a pocket-book 
containing them. 

" My dear sir,' 1 said I, " how long have you had them 
there ? " 

" Ever since I was first instructed," said he. " I was not 
going to trust them out of my possession." 

It was quite plain that in the interests of the client the 
case must not be left in such hands, and as gently as pos- 
sible I pointed out to him the obvious objections to his 


continuing to act. At first he was somewhat hurt, but after 
a time he consented to my discussing the matter with his 
father, who was one of my oldest and closest friends. So 
directly the consultation was over I went to see Sir John Day. 
To my surprise he did not at first seem to see the objections 
to the son conducting a divorce case against a man upon 
whom the father was at that very time sitting as judge in 
grave charges of criminality, and said he did not think he 
ought to prevent his son having a case which would be very 
profitable, and useful in other ways ; but eventually he took 
a different view, and authorised me to say that he thought 
it advisable that the case should pass into other hands. I 
asked young Day to come and see me, and told him my 
views and what had passed with his father, and asked 
him to consider the matter carefully. 

Early next morning the Captain appeared at my room 
in a state of angry excitement at having been thrown over 
by another solicitor ; for he had just received a letter from 
Day asking him to put the case into other hands. He 
asked me whom he should employ, and of course I named 
Mr. Muskett, the managing clerk to Messrs. Wontner. 
That firm had the largest practice in criminal cases except 
Mr. Lewis, and I had long known Mr. Muskett as one of 
the ablest and most discreet of lawyers. 

An appointment was made for a consultation that after- 
noon ; Mr. Day attended, the papers were handed over, 
and before night our anxiety about them was ended, for 
the originals were safely lodged with the National Safe 
Deposit Company. And at this consultation I arranged 
that Mr. Muskett should come in and see me at any time 
without troubling to appoint a consultation, and that no 
step should be taken in the case without my personal 
knowledge and advice. 

The announcement of the commencement of these pro- 
ceedings attracted very little public attention. The rela- 
tions between Mrs. O'Shea and the Irish leader had indeed 
long been notorious. Their political association began as 
early as 1880, and it was at a lunch at which Mr. Parnell 


was present that Mr. Gladstone, always very susceptible to 
the charms of women of beauty and wit, first met, and 
was much attracted by, this remarkable woman. In 1882 
she was the intermediary between the Cabinet and the 
Irish leader in arranging the disgraceful treaty of Kilmain- 
ham, the full terms of which would have been concealed 
from the House of Commons but for the vigilance and 
firmness of Mr. Forster. As early as 1881 Captain O'Shea 
had cause for suspicion, and challenged Mr. Parnell to a 
duel. This was somehow avoided, and the intrigue con- 
tinued. In February 1882 a girl was born, of whom the 
Captain mistakenly supposed himself to be the father. 
She lived only two months, and Parnell, released for a 
short time from Kilmainham, went to Eltham to embrace 
his dying child. Two more daughters were born, one in 
March 1883 and one in November 1884. 

In 1885 a vacancy occurred in the representation of 
Galway, and, to the indignation of some members of his 
party, Mr. Parnell decided that Captain O'Shea should be 
the Nationalist candidate, and went himself to Galway to 
make speeches in his support. Justin McCarthy and Tim 
Healy went to speak for the other candidate, and the latter 
boldly alleged the nature of Parnell's relations with Mrs. 
O'Shea. These were known to his followers, for some time 
before a letter to him from Mrs. O'Shea had been opened 
by one member of the party, and of course the knowledge 
of one soon became the knowledge of all. They used to 
joke about " Kitty " in his absence ; for there was never 
a man among them who would have dared to do it in his 
presence. I heard at the House of Commons of his nightly 
visits to Eltham. He was a shrewd man in many things, 
but his expedients for securing secrecy were quite childish 
in their futility. 

He used to take a hansom cab at Westminster and drive 
to the Nelson public-house in the Old Kent Road. There 
he dismissed his cab and walked a little way, and then 
took another to Eltham. He could not have adopted a 
better plan for betraying his secret. 


These things, however, did not impair in the least degree 
his authority over his party or the harmony of his rela- 
tions with the Liberal leaders, and in the spring of 1890 
Mr. Gladstone was looking forward to the General Election 
which must come in a year or two, and was confident that 
it would give him a majority of at least a hundred, and so 
make certain the passing of a Home Rule measure. 

Meanwhile the Ministry stumbled on in the House of 
Commons. The gradual alienation of the Liberal Unionists 
which had begun with the exposure of the Pigott forgeries 
was still more marked after the Commission had made its 
final report. Lord Randolph Churchill made a damaging 
attack on the Ministry, majorities became painfully small, 
elections went against us, and the leader of the House, 
always nervous and distrustful of his own judgment, was 
harassed by a painful disease. His heroic devotion to 
public duty alone enabled him to continue his regular 
attendance at the House. Our expectations as to the 
future quite agreed with Mr. Gladstone's ; and so badly 
did things go with us during the session that Sir William 
Harcourt hardly seemed to exaggerate when he said in a 
speech at the National Liberal Club on July gth that 
Mr. Gladstone's party had only " to complete the rout of a 
defeated foe and the pursuit of a flying enemy." 

Four months later a verdict in the Divorce Court over- 
turned all these hopes and fears and postponed Home 
Rule for a generation. 

At the end of this session of 1890 I had a disappointment 
which, like all but one of the disappointments of my life, 
was soon atoned for by consequences which no one could have 
foreseen. I had never ceased to urge upon my colleagues 
in public speech and private conversation the adoption of 
the proposal to carry on Bills from one session to another 
which Lord Salisbury had made in 1879, an< ^ which I had 
brought forward in the House of Commons in 1882. In 
the summer of 1890 there were two Bills before the House 
of Commons which the Ministry were not strong enough 
to carry. To abandon them would be a humiliating con- 


fession of weakness. So at a meeting of the Conservative 
party the Prime Minister announced that a Standing Order 
would be proposed under which these Bills could be carried 
forward to the next session. A strong committee was 
appointed to consider the proposal, and I hoped that a 
most useful reform might be carried by general consent. 
But party spirit was too strong, and the manifest embarrass- 
ment of the Government offered too tempting opportunity 
for its exercise. Mr. Gladstone came as a witness and made 
a violent attack on the proposal, and the resolution approv- 
ing the proposed Standing Order, and a reasoned report 
prepared by Mr. Balfour justifying it, were only carried by 
a party majority of n to 9. I think it is worth while 
to record the names. For the resolution and report which 
were moved by the Chairman, Mr. Goschen, there voted 
Lord Hartington, Mr. Chamberlain, Mr. Arthur Balfour, 
Sir H. S. Northcote, Sir Algernon Borthwick, Mr. Jennings, 
Mr. Penrose Fitzgerald, Mr. T. W. Russell, Colonel Mal- 
colm, Mr. John Talbot, and Sir Edward Clarke. On the 
other side were Mr. Gladstone, Sir William Harcourt, Mr. 
John Morley, Mr. Sexton, Mr. Labouchere, Mr. Dillon, 
Mr. Dillwyn, Dr. Hunter, and Mr. Whitbread. But to my 
great disappointment the report was not acted upon. Mr. 
Smith was very unwell, and told me he could not face the 
three or four days of angry debate which would be needed 
to adopt the proposal, and it was therefore determined to 
abandon it. The two Bills the Tithes Bill and the Irish 
Land Purchase Bill were dropped, an autumn session 
was resolved upon, and on August 22nd Parliament was 

This decision had momentous and unexpected conse- 
quences. Parliament was to reassemble on Tuesday, No- 
vember 25th, and a meeting of the Irish parliamentary 
party was summoned for that day. The annual meeting 
of the National Liberal Federation, at which Sir William 
Harcourt and Mr. John Morley were to speak, was to be 
held at Sheffield on the 2ist. 

Meanwhile the Long Vacation came to an end, the Law 

1886-90] THE DIVORCE TRIAL 289 

Courts reassembled, and the fateful divorce case appeared 
in the list for trial. 

A step had been taken by the respondent which I have 
never understood. At first the defence put in both by 
Mrs. O'Shea and by Mr. Parnell was a simple denial of the 
adultery. Later in the proceedings Mrs. O'Shea amended 
her defence by adding a plea alleging that Captain O'Shea 
had been guilty of conduct conducing to her adultery, 
that he had connived at and condoned it, and she added a 
counter-charge alleging his adultery with her sister, Mrs. 
Steele. Who could have advised this step, or why Mr. Parnell 
permitted it, was and is a mystery. The charge against Mrs. 
Steele was utterly baseless and wanton ; while of course the 
plea of connivance was in effect an admission of the adul- 
tery alleged against herself. But the whole business was 
full of puzzles. During the week before the trial we had 
consultations almost every day, and we heard all sorts of 
rumours. One day we were told that Mr. Parnell' s 
solicitors had no instructions ; another that a staff of clerks 
were at work at the house at Brighton preparing briefs for 
the defence ; next day we heard from Captain O'Shea that 
it had been intimated to him that he could have 20,000 
if he would abandon the suit. And strange witnesses came 
to Mr. Muskett, and offered to give curious and incredible 
details of the adultery they said they could prove. 

So we went into court on Saturday, November I5th, 
quite uncertain as to what would happen. Sir Charles 
Butt was the judge, and Inderwick and Lewis Coward 
were my juniors. 

When I went into court Frank Lockwood was already in 
the Queen's Counsel row, and he came across to speak to 
me. I guessed what was coming, and refused to hear any- 
thing privately. I wished to be able to say that I knew 
nothing of the course he intended to take until it was publicly 
announced in court. Then he, when the judge came in, 
said he appeared for Mrs. O'Shea, and did not intend to 
take any part in the proceedings. The position was rather 
embarrassing for me, for in view of the defence of con- 


nivance and the counter-charge I had prepared myself to 
open the case very fully, and had decided to call among 
my earliest witnesses young Harry O'Shea and one or both 
of the two girls who had been born before the acquaint- 
ance with Parnell had begun. I at once decided to do 
without their evidence, to make my statement as short 
as possible, and to call only a few witnesses. Mr. George 
Lewis came to me with a message from Mr. Parnell, who 
had been subpoenaed, and was, he said, in attendance, asking 
that I would if possible dispense with his appearance in 
court for the purpose of identification, and he handed me 
a few recent photographs. I managed to make these do. 
We might have finished the case that day, but I wanted 
to call Mrs. Steele to deny publicly the charge that had 
been made against her, and she was not in attendance. So 
the case stood over until the I7th, and then, after a little 
more evidence and a short summing up, the jury gave their 
verdict, and a decree nisi was pronounced. 

The political effect was immediate and overwhelming. 
That the result of the trial should come as a complete sur- 
prise to the leaders of the Liberal party is difficult to explain. 
Mr. John Morley had been for years the friend and adviser 
of the Irish leader. Two days before the trial took place 
he told Mr. Gladstone that Parnell was going to be trium- 
phantly acquitted. Parnell had given him that assur- 
ance. I think the explanation is that ParnelTs solicitors 
believed down to the last moment that Captain O'Shea 
would not appear in court ; and I suspect that the pleas 
of connivance and condonation were put on the record with 
the idea of making it more easy to bribe or to frighten him 
into the abandonment of his suit. 

There was another way out which would have suited 
the Liberal leaders even better. That was the disappear- 
ance of Parnell from political life, leaving a solid body of 
Irish Home Rulers without any very strong leader, and 
therefore the more amenable to the friendly control of 
their English allies. And this nearly happened. Some time 
before the trial Parnell entertained the idea of leaving 


England with Mrs. O'Shea, and taking the two girls, born 
in 1883 and 1884, wno were unquestionably his daughters, 
and he consulted Mr. Inderwick whether there was any 
European country in which Mrs. O'Shea, in spite of the 
orders of an English court of law, would be able to retain 
the custody of these children. 

On the Sunday that came between the opening of the 
divorce case and the verdict and decree Mr. Gladstone 
heard of the evidence already given, and his first question 
was, " Will he ask for the Chiltern Hundreds ? " This is 
an autobiography and not a political history, but the fol- 
lowing quotation from a speech I made at Plymouth on 
January 5th, 1891, may have its interest in both aspects : 

It is seven weeks to-day since I heard, in a case in which 
I myself appeared as counsel, a verdict given which has 
materially and permanently affected the political fortunes 
of both parties in this country. It is hardly possible to 
realise the change that has passed over the prospects of 
English political parties in that short period of seven 
weeks. On the Saturday I had been called upon in the 
course of my professional duty to make a speech, which 
was afterwards supported and proved by evidence only 
as much evidence as was necessary in the circumstances of 
the case and produced the result that, for the moment, 
the leader of the Gladstonian party has refused to have 
any political action in common with the leader of the Irish 
wing of the Home Rule party. The incidents that have 
passed in that short period of seven weeks are incidents 
upon which it is not undesirable that we should meditate 
and reflect this evening. Many of them have been of an 
extremely amusing character. The Irish party can never 
keep out entirely the involuntary Irish humour from the 
proceedings, political and otherwise, in which they are 
engaged; and when they began their proceedings in Com- 
mittee Room No. 15 by solemnly discussing whether they 
should resolve that the general meeting of the Irish party 
should be called for " last Friday," they started a series 
of incidents which maintained their character to the very 
end of the chapter. They did not decide anything it 
was not to be expected that they should put that important 


question; but having broken up in disorder in the dusk 
of one December evening, they transferred themselves to 
Dublin, and there started the Home Rule campaign in 
two different factions. They first started by way of 
showing what they expected from unity when Home Rule 
should be achieved two rival and opposition " United 
Irelands"; and when the imitation " United Ireland " was 
put down by law, they started again, with true Irish humour, 
a paper which was published all over Dublin and was called 
" Suppressed United Ireland " ; and since then they have 
been indulging in a faction fight of the most charming 
character at Kilkenny ; and by way of showing their 
attachment to Mr. Gladstone they have returned as member 
for Kilkenny a member of the Carlton Club. I don't say 
that we are very proud of him, but the irony of Irish affairs 
could hardly be carried further than by the selection of 
Sir John Pope Hennessy, who sat as a Conservative in the 
House of Commons, and owed his diplomatic promotion to 
Lord Beaconsfield, and whom I heard not many months 
ago speak of himself in an after-dinner speech as a mem- 
ber of the Conservative party. Well, sir, these pleasant 
and amusing incidents of domestic differences will of course 
be soon forgotten, but there are a good many things that 
will not be so easily forgotten. We have heard some very 
plain speaking with regard to their own companions from 
members of the Parnellite party ; we have heard Mr. Par- 
nelTs description of Mr. Gladstone. We have heard from 
Mr. Parnell that "that grand old Spider " these, I beg 
you to observe, are all quotations" who is the unrivalled 
coercionist of the Irish race " is a " garrulous old gentle- 
man " whom Mr. Parnell has known for many years, but 
from whom he " could never get a definite answer to any 
question that he ever asked." We have heard Mr. Par- 
nell 's description of his own companions and late sup- 
porters in the House of Commons, from Mr. Healy, who 
had the distinction of being described in Committee Room 
No. 15 as " that coward.y little scoundrel in the corner," 
down to Dr. Tanner, upon whom has been bestowed the 
sobriquet of a " gutter sparrow." We have heard what 
the leader thought of his followers, and we have heard 
with equal plainness what the followers thought of their 
leader ; and if I do not go on with quotations from their 
speeches, it is only because, while what the leaders say 

1886-90] THE WOMAN IN THE CASE 293 

may be of some importance, what the followers say is of 
no consequence to anybody. 1 

Lord Morley has told me that the last time he talked 
with his old chief on political matters Mr. Gladstone said, 
" We should have carried Home Rule but for Kitty 
O'Shea." I once said to David Plunket, " I knew I was 
throwing a bombshell into the Irish camp, but I did not 
know it would do quite so much mischief." " Ah," said 
he, " you didn't know that when it burst they would pick 
up the pieces and cut each other's throats with them." 

1 Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 3. 




THE immediate political consequence of the Parnell divorce 
case and the break up of his party was that the Ministry 
continued in office for another year and a half. If that case 
had not been tried, I have no doubt that the Government 
would have broken down in the autumn session, and a General 
Election would have taken place directly after Christmas. 
Instead of that Parliament only sat for a fortnight, and 
when it reassembled late in January 1891, all parliamentary 
difficulties had disappeared, and ministers found them- 
selves in enjoyment of a strength and freedom which had 
not belonged to them at any time since they entered office. 
The opportunity was well used. The Tithes Bill was passed. 
Free Education was established. And a valuable Irish 
Land Purchase Act was added to the Statute Book. Mr. 
Gladstone came to the House but little. But on each of 
these Bills his followers challenged important divisions, and 
in contrast with the scanty majorities of the preceding year, 
they were beaten by majorities of 94, 101, and 138, all the 
Nationalist members who came to the House supporting 
the Government upon the last-named Bill. Nor was there 
any trouble about Finance. The country was prosperous, 
and its prosperity was reflected in the yield of taxation. 
Mr. Goschen had done more than justify his acceptance as 
a Unionist minister. He had been a tower of strength in 
debate; and in five years, while taxes were reduced and the 
naval and military forces of the country substantially 
strengthened, the National Debt had been reduced by 


1891-2] TRANBY CROFT 295 

37,000,000, and brought to a lower point than it had reached 
for forty years. 

I need say no more about the political affairs of this 
year, and will turn at once to the case which at one time 
threatened to have consequences in England as grave as 
those which in Ireland had followed upon the Parnell 

It arose from a charge of cheating at cards which had 
been made against Sir William Gordon-Cumming at Tranby 
Croft in the previous September, when the Prince of Wales 
was staying there for the Doncaster races, and where Sir 
William, at the suggestion of the Prince, had been included 
in the house-party. It is not necessary to recite here the 
names of the members of that party. 

The incidents did none of them any credit ; and those who 
wish to read the details will find them all fully set out in 
the newspapers of the first week of June 1891. On the night 
that the accusation was made Sir William, strongly denying 
his guilt, was persuaded, under great pressure, to sign an 
undertaking not to play cards again. All the members of 
the party save one were bound to secrecy, none of them 
having the sense to see that the sudden departure of Sir 
William from Tranby Croft, and his abandonment of card- 
playing, would effectually secure the publicity of the scandal. 

It was all known the next day, for a lady who was not at 
Tranby Croft heard the story on Doncaster race-course. 

On February 6th, 1891, Sir William Gordon-Cumming 
issued a writ for slander against the persons who had 
accused him at Tranby Croft, and the defence put in was 
that the charge was true. 

I was instructed by Messrs. Wontner to appear for the 
plaintiff, and had the good fortune to have as my junior my 
good friend Charles Gill, one of the ablest and most coura- 
geous of advocates, a wise adviser, and a genial companion. 
I need hardly say that our consultations were long and 

A short time before the case came on Mr. George Lewis, 
who was the solicitor for all the defendants, came to me with 


a message from Marlborough House. Sir Edward Hulse 
had given the Prince of Wales a box containing the cards 
and counters to be used in playing baccarat. The counters 
were large and of bright colours. On one side was the value 
10, 5, i, or IDS. on the other the feathers of the 
Prince of Wales. These were the cards and counters used 
on the evening of the alleged cheating. Mr. Lewis told me 
that it would be unpleasant for the Prince that it should 
be known that he travelled about with this box, and asked 
if I would be content if the defendants produced for use at 
the trial counters of the same size and colour, but without 
the gilt feathers on the back. I told him I could make no 
promise of concealment, but for the purpose of my opening 
speech I should be quite willing to use the plain counters. 
So I went one afternoon to Marlborough House, and saw Sir 
Francis Knollys, and compared the originals with the copies, 
some of which I still possess. 

On the day of the trial the court had a strange appear- 
ance. Lord Coleridge had appropriated half of the public 
gallery, and had given tickets to his friends. The Prince 
of Wales occupied a chair at the front of the bench, between 
the judge and the witness box. Lady Coleridge sat close 
to her husband's right hand, and had the duty of checking 
the occasional inclination to sleep which at this time had 
become noticeable. The rest of the bench was filled by a 
group of fashionable ladies, in front of whom, and one 
might fitly say " close to the footlights," one of the judge's 
daughters-in-law sat with sketch-book on her knee busily 
sketching the actors in the drama. Lord Coleridge's angry 
exclamation when the crowded court cheered my closing 
speech, " Silence, this is not a theatre," sounded in the 
circumstances rather amusing. 

I was not a little indignant when, after the trial, the 
sketch-book was brought to me with a request that I would 
put my signature to the sketch of myself which was 
inserted between the signed likenesses of Sir Charles Russell 
and Mr. Asquith. 

I believe my reply in this case was one of the best 


speeches I ever made. It has sometimes happened to me 
when making a speech on rare occasions perhaps a dozen 
times in the course of my life to have all the faculties so 
working together at the very height of their powers that 
there has ceased to be the slightest sense of effort, physical 
or intellectual. No choice of topics, no hesitation of 
thought, no selection of phrase. As the thought comes 
into the mind the perfectly apt word comes with it. The 
phrase has no ambiguity and no extravagance. And voice 
and gesture instinctively give melody and force to the 
flowing period. 

It is an intense enjoyment to the speaker, and I never 
felt its delight so fully as when I was delivering that closing 

Lord Coleridge said at the beginning of his summing up 
that perhaps it was as well that a night had intervened 
between my speech and the summing up. He had made 
the most of the interval. He told Lady Coleridge when he 
reached home that until he heard my reply he had never 
doubted what the result of the case would be. And he set 
to work that night to prepare, or perhaps to complete, the 
very fine specimen of judicial advocacy which he delivered 
the next morning. 

It has often been a subject of discussion among lawyers 
whether Charles Russell or John Duke Coleridge was the 
greater advocate. I am not sure that Russell was quite 
at his best in the Baccarat case, but so far as that case was 
concerned I think no careful student of the trial would 
deny the supremacy to Coleridge. 

The result of the case greatly disappointed me. I had 
opened it in language of studied moderation, for I thought 
it possible that when Sir William's evidence had been given 
the defendants would say that they accepted his denial, 
and would withdraw their idea of justification. That course 
would not have saved my client from social ostracism. He 
had made many enemies ; and Society, with the leader of 
Society at its head, would have refused to receive him. 
But it might have saved him, and the loyal and devoted 


lady, who in the hour of his disgrace became his wife, 
and the innocent children of their marriage, from the 
shameful cruelty with which in later years they were 

Any counsel of experience distrusts his own judgment 
upon the merits of a case in which he has himself been an ad- 
vocate. But so many years have passed since the Baccarat 
case was tried that I think I am able now to form an 
unbiased opinion, and I think I ought to leave that opinion 
on record. 

I believe the verdict was wrong, and that Sir William 
Gordon-Gumming was innocent of the offence charged 
against him. 

The Session of 1892 was very quiet. Some members 
were away, preparing for the General Election which it was 
known would come in the autumn, some were careless, for 
they did not intend to stand again. The Liberal leaders 
were divided, the Irish party was broken in two, and the 
Government had no immediate anxieties. 

But in that session I delivered three speeches which I 
think should be mentioned here. The first was upon the 
Salvation Army. I had enjoyed for some years the friend- 
ship and confidence of General Booth, the wonderful man 
whose devout enthusiasm and genius for organisation con- 
verted a local evangelistic effort in an industrial town in 
the north of England into the world-wide movement which 
has done so much to promote Christian faith and conduct 
among the poor and unlearned of every nation. When 
General Booth came to London I was professionally con- 
sulted upon some troublesome legal questions which arose 
in connection with the establishment of the London head- 
quarters at the Eagle Tavern in the City Road. Some years 
later I argued for them and won the case of Beaty v. Gil- 
banks, which established their right to have public proces- 
sions and to have those processions protected against 
interruption ; and thenceforward to the end of his long and 
useful life I had the privilege of being his adviser upon 
important questions of law. In 1891 a by-law which 


enabled the town council at Eastbourne to prohibit the use 
of a band in the Salvation Army processions was inadver- 
tently sanctioned by Parliament. Serious disorders took 
place, and in 1892 a Bill was introduced by the Govern- 
ment to repeal this by-law. The Bill passed without 
difficulty; and in the debate I took occasion to declare 
that the Salvation Army was so far as I knew the only 
religious organisation which the world has ever seen which 
makes the only test of membership personal purity and 
holiness of life. I said, " Any one who knows anything of 
the Salvation Army knows this cardinal fact that every 
one of the hundreds of thousands of persons who join it 
becomes an abstainer from all intoxicants, and also, which 
often involves a greater self-denial, an abstainer from 
the use of tobacco in any form, and any one knowing that 
realises the extraordinary importance and value of this 
religious organisation." 

This earned for me a caricature in Punch of March igth, 
1892, which gave me the greatest pleasure. My friend 
Harry Furniss, the greatest draughtsman and caricaturist 
of his time, represented me in Salvation Army uniform 
dancing along and vigorously clashing a pair of cymbals. 

The second of the three speeches was delivered as the 
spokesman of the Government and the Tory party in 
opposition to a resolution in favour of the disestablishment 
of the Church in Wales. 1 

The third was an authorised declaration of the policy 
of the Government with regard to franchise and regis- 
tration reform. A small committee had been appointed, 
consisting of the Solicitor-General for Scotland and myself 
and one other, to make a report upon the system of regis- 
tration in England and in Scotland, and this having been 
considered by the Cabinet I was commissioned to state 
their views. I have not reprinted this speech, which was 
delivered on May 25th, 1892, and will be found in Hansard, 
series 4, vol. iv, p. 1829 ; but for twenty-five years Parlia- 
ment has neglected the subject, and it may be worth while 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 173. 


to note the proposals which Lord Salisbury and his col- 
leagues were prepared to accept. 

The principle laid down was that it should be made as 
easy as possible for any man qualified by law to exercise 
the franchise ; that his name should be put on the electoral 
list by the action of a public officer ; and that when once 
there it should not be allowed to disappear from the list so 
long as he continues to hold a qualification. Successive 
occupation should be allowed from one borough to 
another, and not only within the limits of a borough. 
The Scottish system should be adopted ; the system of 
revising barristers, and the direct influence of political 
partisans on the formation of the electoral roll should be 
abolished ; and the record from which the names of voters 
are taken should be a record which is not connected 
with parliamentary and political purposes only, but is 
connected also with liability to rating and other public 
liabilities and duties. 

I hope this speech may yet be found of use when the 
manifold evils of the present system of registration come 
to be seriously dealt with. 

The Parliament went quietly on to its close ; and the 
dissolution in July 1892 brought me a harder contest at 
Plymouth than I had expected. This was owing to a curious 
blunder by the authorities at the Admiralty. For some 
years the representatives of dockyard constituencies had 
been urging on successive Governments the reasonable 
claim of the shipwrights to an increase in their wages, which 
had been fixed long ago, and were lower than the wages 
given in private yards. 

In 1892 Lord George Hamilton, who recognised the 
justice of the claim, and did not disregard the party advan- 
tage which might be gained by a concession, persuaded the 
Government to authorise a further expenditure of 96,000 
a year, which would suffice to give an increase of 2s. a week 
to all the shipwrights. Unfortunately the Secretary to the 
Admiralty, Mr. Arthur Forwood, a Liverpool shipowner, 
persuaded him to approve a scheme by which the ship- 

i8gi-2] A COSTLY BLUNDER 301 

wrights were divided into three classes, receiving respectively 
increases of one shilling, two shillings, and three shillings, 
according to their length of service. This pleased no one. 
There was indeed no justice in it, for it was the men who 
had young families to bring up who needed most the larger 
wage ; and all classes resented the distinction made between 

I came to London during the election to see if the mistake 
could be repaired, but the increase of 35. to the older men 
having been once announced could not be withdrawn ; we 
went to the poll with the majority of the angry ship- 
wrights voting against us ; and although I headed the poll, 
and my new colleague Sir William Pearce was returned 
with me, I only beat the strongest opponent by 160 votes 
a disappointing contrast to the 886 of six years before. 

Elsewhere the effect of the blunder was much more 
serious. At Devonport we lost both seats, at Portsmouth 
one, and another at the Pembroke Boroughs. 

When the new Parliament met in January of 1893 Glad- 
stone had a majority of 39. Of the English representatives 
the majority against him was 71. With a House of Com- 
mons so constituted I doubt if any one but he really thought 
it possible to place a Home Rule Act upon the Statute Book. 
If the majority had been only 31 the gallant old fighter 
would hardly have prevailed on his followers to make 
the attempt. 

My six years of office as Solicitor-General came to an 
end on August i8th, 1892. 



THE first use I made of my recovered freedom was to pay a 
visit to Ireland. I had long felt ashamed that while we in 
the House of Commons were constantly discussing Irish 
affairs, so few of us had any personal knowledge of the 
country and its people. So after a week or two of pleasant 
boating and tennis at Staines, I went off with my wife and 
daughter and my eldest son to spend a few weeks in enjoy- 
ing lovely scenery and a delightful people. 

We stayed for a while in Dublin, in excellent rooms at 
the Shelbourne Hotel, where we met many friends and made 
pleasant new ones, and then we had a never-to-be-forgotten 
week of enjoyment at Glengarriff , surely one of the loveliest 
places on earth. Then came Killarney, famed for its beauty 
and worthy of all its fame. I shall never forget the brilliant 
autumn day when my son and I took a merry guide and 
went to the top of Mangerton, and heard the story of the 
bottomless lake, and drank " God Save Ireland " in some 
special Irish whisky for which a house we had passed on 
the road was famed. 

We sojourned for a while at Cork, at Limerick, and at 
Bray ; and my son and I made a special trip to see the New 
Tipperary, which was the one constructive experiment of 
the Nationalist movement. And we came back to Dublin 
in time to witness from the windows of the Imperial Hotel 
in Sackville Street the great procession that went to 
Glasnevin Cemetery on the first anniversary of ParnelTs 

I am reluctant to quote from my own speeches, but I do 
not think I can describe that procession and what appeared 



to me to be its political significance better than by tran- 
scribing a passage from my speech at Plymouth on 
January 3rd, 1893. 

I had an opportunity while in Ireland of considering a 
very interesting question in that country now, and that 
is the question of the relative strength of the two parties 
which claim between them to represent the Nationalist 
cause of Ireland I mean the Parnellites and those who by 
a curious and inexcusable blunder have allowed themselves 
to be called anti-Parnellites. I had an interesting oppor- 
tunity of observing the strength of the Parnellite party in 
the chief city of Ireland. 

On October 9th a procession took place through Dublin 
to Glasnevin Cemetery in commemoration of the death of 
Mr. Parnell, and from a balcony in Sackville Street I watched 
that procession. It was a most remarkable sight on a most 
remarkable day. The priests of the distant parts of Ireland 
had set themselves to thwart, if they could, the intention 
to hold that great demonstration. They had refused in 
more than one place to celebrate early mass, in the hope 
that that refusal would prevent the people being able to 
go by train to Dublin to take part in that procession. But 
on that Sunday morning every quarter of an hour from ten 
o'clock in the morning until half-past twelve, at each of 
the railway stations in Dublin, special trains were arriving 
from the country, bringing thousands of people to join in 
the tribute to Mr. Parnell' s memory. 

All those people were coming in wearing bunches of ivy 
leaves, which have now become in Ireland the recognised 
sign of adherents to Parnellism. The streets grew gradually 
more and more thronged in the morning, and at midday 
there were dense crowds all over Sackville Street to the 
O'Connell bridge. 

The most remarkable thing was that there was not a 
policeman to be seen. The crowd was in perfect order, but 
we wondered how the procession would make its way. 

Presently came the procession. Four men in front of it 
with wands bound in black and white were enough to make 
way through the crowd. 

The car piled with wreaths passed on, the Parnellite 
members walking bareheaded after it, and then came for 
an hour and a quarter persons walking in procession. 


I cannot say with certainty, but, from experiment made 
at different times, I should think there were ten or eleven 
thousand persons walking in that procession. But the 
importance of the matter was in the crowds that filled the 
streets, and that almost everywhere you saw an ivy leaf in 
the coat which admitted the wearer to be a follower of 
Parnell. The remarkable thing about Irish politics to me 
at this moment is this : that while what is called the Par- 
nellite party in Ireland is now but small in the House of 
Commons nine or ten in number their opponents have, by 
a singular and inexplicable fatuity, handed over to them 
the whole of the sentiment connected with the Nationalist 
cause in Ireland. 

There is Parnell' s grave in Glasnevin Cemetery to which 
thousands of people go, and which is the great object of 
observation, and there is the wearing of the ivy leaf. It may 
be the priests will be too strong for Parnellism. I don't 
think they will. There is no more sentimental people in 
the world than the Irish people, and their sentiments now 
are associated with Parnell and his history and his triumphs 
in the House of Commons in a way which I do not think 
will ever be defeated. 

But if the priests do not succeed in crushing Parnellism, 
I am quite sure that Parnellism will conquer the opponents 
whom it will find in Ireland. It was said the other day by 
one of the representatives of the anti-Parnellite party that 
the Parnellites have no capable men among them. I read 
the assertion with great surprise, for undoubtedly in Mr. 
John Redmond the Parnellites have the most able parlia- 
mentary speaker amongst those who now represent Ireland 
in the House of Commons. 1 

In order to complete the account of this visit to Ireland 
I must add a few more sentences from the same speech. 

During those three weeks I determinedly did not see an 
English newspaper. 

I read only the newspapers that one found in the country, 
and one of the most curious things was that during the 
whole time I was there, and taking all the local newspapers 

1 Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 37. 


to which I had access, I do not think I ever saw any refer- 
ence to the establishment of an Irish Parliament. 

The people over there do not seem to look upon that as 
one of the serious questions with which they are dealing. 
I do not say that the casual observations of the people 
one meets in various parts of Ireland can be accepted as 
an altogether trustworthy indication of public feeling ; 
but I am bound to say I was struck with the observation 
of a car-driver driving me to Killarney. Of course that 
driver and he was tempted by me I am afraid indulged 
me with a most enthusiastic description of the merits of 
Mr. Gladstone. He was indeed among Mr. Gladstone's 
most enthusiastic supporters. He told me that he was 
the most wonderful man that ever lived, that there had not 
been a thought of his life that had not been given to justice 
to Ireland ; and he spoke of the magnificent things which 
that splendid statesman had done and intended to do. So 
I fell in with his humour, and I said, " And now you're all 
right as he is in office, and in six months he will be giving 
you an Irish Parliament." "Oh, God forbid," he said; 
" that would make things worse than ever." He would 
have nothing to do with an Irish Parliament at all. " What 
they want," said he, " is not to pay rent." I believe 
that the most complete expression of the general desire 
and feeling of the Irish people that I came across in that 
time was put in plain terms by another car-driver. He 
said, " What people want is to pay no rent and have com- 
pensation for improvements." Well, travelling in Ireland, 
reading the local papers, hearing local opinions, talking to 
people about politics, one could see at once that there was 
no question as to the establishment of a Parliament, or of 
an executive responsible to Parliament, or anything of that 
kind. They had their grievances, or thought they had them, 
with regard to the terms of their holdings, they were all 
eager to become the owners of the holdings which they 
tilled, and the conclusion which was borne in on my mind 
is that the whole secret of the Irish question is this security 
and tenure of occupation of land, and that if the policy 
which we carried out in Lord Ashbourne's Act for enabling 
tenants of farms to become on easy terms proprietors of 
their holdings were steadily carried through we should so wipe 
out the question of Nationalist aspirations for a Parliament. 1 
1 Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 36. 


It was soon announced that Sir Charles Russell and Mr. 
John Rigby were to be the new Law Officers, and that they 
had acquiesced in a rule that they should take no private 
practice except in the House of Lords and the Judicial Com- 
mittee of the Privy Council ; an exception which was of no 
importance to Russell, as he seldom appeared in either 
place. A curious little note from him reached me on 
August i8th. 


Mr. G. in appointing his Law Officers finds he is con- 
fronted with a rule laid down by the late Government 
against the Law Officer taking (with certain exceptions) any 
private practice. Pray let me know your understanding 
of that rule. 

I envy your freedom ! 

Yours faithfully, 


He put the same question to Lord Halsbury and to 
Webster, and was told by both of them that no such rule 
had been laid down. 

My reply to his letter was : 


No such rule as you mention was laid down by the 
late Government ; Webster and I were not subject to any 
restrictions whatever in the matter of private business, 
nor should I have submitted to any. I think it is a pity 
you and Rigby have consented to take office on other terms, 
but I look on this consent as simply a matter of personal 
arrangement between yourselves and Mr. Gladstone, and 
not as establishing a rule by which others will be bound. 

Very faithfully yours, 

Charles Russell was furious ; he declared Mr. Gladstone 
had deceived him, and claimed to be relieved of the restric- 
tion. The Lord Chancellor (Herschell) brought the matter 
before the Cabinet, but they were firm. 

The new arrangement did not prove a success from the 

1892-5] AN EASIER LIFE 307 

point of view of public economy, and Russell soon found he 
had nothing to complain of. 

In 1891 his income had been a little under 14,000 ; 
during the period of rather less than two years, from August 
1892 to May 1894, he received from the Treasury something 
over 32,000, being an annual income of nearly twice the 
average amount of public money received by the Attorney- 
General during the previous twenty years. 

As soon as I left office my clerk came to me and sug- 
gested that I should now relax the rule I had laid down of 
not accepting a brief with less than a hundred guineas. 
He thought that as a private counsel I could not prudently 
try to maintain it. I told him I was not very anxious 
about the amount of my income, and felt sure I should 
earn sufficient for my needs, and that after six years of very 
hard work I should not be sorry to have a time of more 
leisure. He was gloomy and apprehensive ; but his appre- 
hensions were very far from being justified. 

The meeting of Parliament in February 1893 was the 
beginning of the most enjoyable period of my political life. 
The front Opposition bench is by far the pleasantest place 
in the House. I was no longer bound to constant attend- 
ance on the debates. The escape from the onerous obli- 
gation of being in my place during the last half-hour of 
every sitting was an especial relief. I had of course to 
surrender my occupancy of the Solicitor-General's room; 
but the authorities of the House were very kind, and gave 
me the use of a small room close to a private exit under 
an arch of the Speaker's courtyard, where, so long as I re- 
mained a member of Parliament, I was enabled, secure from 
interruption, to do a great deal of my legal work. Best 
of all was the fact that now, as in the party out of office 
there are no Cabinet secrets, I was admitted to the fullest 
confidence of my leaders, and was entrusted with some very 
important duties. On three occasions, once in each of the 
three years that the Government lasted, I was chosen to lead 
the opposition to an important Bill. 

The first, and by far the most important of these, was the 


introduction of the second Home Rule Bill by Mr. Gladstone 
on February I3th, 1893 ; the anniversary of the day thirteen 
years before when I had been elected for Southwark. When 
the date of this introduction was fixed, Mr. Balfour spoke 
to me about the debate. He did not propose to divide 
against the first reading ; but he said he wished to have a 
full debate, well sustained, for several nights, and his chief 
anxiety was as to the first night. Everybody, he said, 
would be willing to speak the second night, after time for 
thought and consideration, but he wanted a good strong 
fighting speech which would be read on the same day as 
Mr. Gladstone's opening. Would I prepare myself to speak 
on the first evening, say at ten o'clock ? I agreed to speak, 
but I suggested that I should follow Mr. Gladstone im- 
mediately he sat down. I said my training at the Bar had 
accustomed me to answer at once an opponent's argu- 
ments, I thought my speech would be no better for the two 
or three hours' interval, and that it would gain in effect 
if made directly the new proposals were stated. He seemed 
surprised at the suggestion, but agreed that an immediate 
reply would be the more effective, and it was so arranged. 

My first preparation for the heavy task I had undertaken 
was to get a copy of the old Home Rule Bill, and absolutely 
learn it by heart, so as to remember the number and exact 
terms of every clause. So far as old proposals were repeated 
I knew the comment we had made upon them seven years 
before ; if they were varied the alteration was a concession 
of previous mistake and the answer to the new scheme 
must be extemporised. Then I went down to Brighton 
with Lady Clarke for two or three days, took spacious and 
excellent rooms at the Grand Hotel, worked diligently at 
my notes, wrote my peroration, and fixed its phrases in 
my memory while I walked up and down the front, and 
made my usual excursion to look at the house in Walsingham 
Terrace, of which I had heard and said so much in the 
Parnell case. 

We came back to town on Monday, and in the afternoon 
I walked down to the House. Its precincts were full of 

1892-5] A FAMOUS DEBATE 309 

excitement. Crowds loitered in Whitehall and Downing 
Street and round the railings of Palace Yard, and as the 
well-known leaders passed into the House their adherents 
cheered them. 

As I went up the staircase I heard the roar of cheers 
when the Prime Minister came to the table, and when I 
entered the chamber his first sentence was stilling the 
House to silence. It was a wonderful sight. The whole 
House was crowded to its limits, every seat occupied, 
rows of chairs ranged along the floor, all the galleries full, 
and a crowd of members who could find no seats standing 
massed at the bar. From over the clock the Prince of 
Wales and the Duke of York watched the scene ; from the 
rows right and left of them Lord Rosebery, Lord Spencer, 
Lord Knutsford, Lord Rowton, and Lord Cadogan listened 
to the speech. 

The Reporters' Gallery was crowded ; and as I went to the 
seat reserved for me between Mr. Balfour and Mr. Goschen, 
I could not help recalling the night twenty-six years before, 
when I had stood in that gallery, and heard the memorable 
speech which anticipated, and strove to avert, the fall of 
a Liberal Ministry. And now the same speaker, casting 
aside the burden of his eighty-four years of strenuous life, 
stood in the same place, and with form erect, and flashing 
eye, and voice which had lost but little of its strength and 
music, poured out for three hours the stream of clear argu- 
ment and copious illustration and unfaltering phrase. It 
was, as I acknowledged in my opening sentence, " a splendid 
example of physical and intellectual power." 

He sat down amidst a tumult of cheers, and then his 
hearers began to hurry away. The Speaker could hardly 
be heard when he put the question, and I had to stand at 
the table for several minutes until the noise of departure 
subsided. The next ten minutes was, I think, the most 
trying experience of my life worse than my maiden speech. 

Our men sat steady, and helped me by their welcome; 
but from below the gangway, and from the benches opposite 
me, members were hastening out to send telegrams and 


letters or to discuss the speech ; and I had the discouragement 
of fearing that my speech would be delivered to an almost 
empty House. An unlooked-for incident helped to save me. 
After a few introductory sentences on the fact that in 
in the Prime Minister's speech there had been no reference 
to the Land Question, Mr. Gladstone sprang to his feet. 

I am indebted to the hon. and learned gentleman for his 
reminder. I omitted to mention among the provisions of 
the Bill that the Land Question is reserved to the Imperial 
Parliament for a period of three years. 

The news that Mr. Gladstone had again risen brought 
members rushing back into the chamber, and now they 
for the most part stayed. My speech l lasted about an 
hour, and I had reason to be proud of its reception. 

The course of the debates upon the Bill when it reached 
Committee was not at all creditable to the leaders of the 
Unionist party. It was not to their interest that time 
should be occupied by long discussion on the Bill, for this 
was the only Bill in which the Irish members were interested, 
and without them the Government had no majority at all. 
If the Unionists had concentrated their attacks upon the 
important provisions on which the English Liberals were 
themselves divided, the Bill might have been defeated in 
the House of Commons. Instead of that private members 
were encouraged to put down all the trivial amendments 
they could think of, and so divisions were taken, at times 
when the House was full, upon trumpery little questions. 
Worse still, prominent members of the party voted for 
proposals they were known to disapprove, in their desire 
to make more certain the rejection of the Bill by the House 
of Lords. 

I made my comment on this at my next annual meeting 
at Plymouth on January 2nd, 1894. 

There was one great mistake, to my thinking, made by 
some of the leaders of the party to which I belong in their 
1 Selected Speeches, p. 78. 

1892-5] BAD LEADERSHIP 311 

attitude and contest against the Home Rule Bill. I 
thought it a mistake at the time. I am more confirmed in 
that opinion since. Some of our leaders, Lord Randolph 
Churchill especially, kept declaring that it did not matter 
what the House of Commons did on that subject, for the 
House of Lords would in any ease throw the Bill out. 
I thought at the time, and think now, that that was a 
great tactical mistake. In the House of Commons we 
ought to have no consideration at all of what the House of 
Lords will or will not do with a measure when it has left 
our House. In the House of Commons it is our business 
to discuss the Bill and to frame it as we think it can best 
be framed, or to resist it to the best of our power if we 
think it is a mischievous measure. 

When we have done our duty in the House of Commons 
with regard to the matter, then, and then only, comes the 
responsibility of the House of Lords, and then only should 
commence the reference to the probable action of the 
House of Lords. But the mischief done was great. I am 
certain if there had been no House of Lords that Bill would 
never have passed a third reading in the House of Commons. 
It passed the third reading in the shape that it took because 
many of those who objected to some of its provisions, and 
who especially objected to the retention of the Irish members 
in our Parliament, saw there was no chance of the Bill ever 
passing into law ; and they reconciled themselves to allow- 
ing it to pass in that form because they knew that the 
House of Lords would probably make an end of the Bill 
altogether. Now I hope that blunder will not be repeated 
by any of the leaders of our party when we are again deal- 
ing with a question of great importance in the House of 
Commons. 1 

The Home Rule Bill was thrown out in the House of Lords 
by the extraordinary majority of 419 against 41. The 
Prime Minister wanted a dissolution, but was overruled 
by his Cabinet, and submitted. Presently he was over- 
ruled again on the Navy Estimates, which he wished to 
reduce. This time he would not submit ; and in March 1894 
Lord Rosebery became Prime Minister. 

In May of that year an important Reform Bill, having 
1 Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 45. 


the awkward title of the " Period of Qualifications and 
Elections Bill/' was introduced by the Chief Secretary for 
Ireland (Mr. John Morley) ; and a small committee, on which 
I served, was appointed to report on its proposals and advise 
our leaders as to the course they should take. I was com- 
missioned to lead for the Opposition in the debate, and 
directly the second reading was moved I proposed an 
amendment declining to " proceed further with a Bill con- 
taining provisions effecting extensive changes in the repre- 
sentative system of the country, in the absence of proposals 
for the redress of the large inequalities existing in the distri- 
bution of electoral power/ 1 1 After three nights' debate the 
second reading was carried by the small majority of 14 (292 
against 278). The debate had made it clear that the Bill 
could not live through the Committee stage, and it was not 
set down again for discussion. 

A Local Veto Bill which was introduced by the Chan- 
cellor of the Exchequer (Sir William Harcourt) in April 
1895 had an even shorter life and a more inglorious history. 
Sir William made an elaborate speech in introducing it, 
and, as in the Home Rule debate, I followed him at once 
and dealt at length with the proposals he had just explained. 8 
In the second sentence of my speech I expressed my belief 
that the Bill would never be set down for a second reading. 
The forecast was correct. We did not of course divide 
against its introduction, and the Bill received the honour 
of being printed. That was sufficient ; the House of Com- 
mons never heard of it again. 

I do not think Harcourt was much disappointed. Indeed 
it always appeared to me that after Lord Rosebery became 
Prime Minister he took but little interest in the work of 
the House of Commons, with the notable exception of the 
Death Duties Bill of 1894. That was a great personal 
triumph. There have been in my recollection three great 
exhibitions of parliamentary skill. They were the conduct 
of the Reform Bill, 1867, by Mr. Disraeli, the conduct of 
the Redistribution Bill of 1885 by Sir Charles Dilke, and 
1 Selected Speeches, p. 154. a Ibid., p. 47. 


the conduct of the Death Duties Bill of 1894 by Sir William 
Harcourt. Each was a remarkable achievement. In 1885 
Sir Charles Dilke showed, only a few months before the 
wreck of his political career, qualities and capacities which 
promised to make him one of the foremost English states- 
men of his time. His extraordinary industry ; the fullness 
and exactness of his knowledge ; his perfect tact and 
temper in dealing with questions every one of which had 
a special and peculiar importance to some member or group 
of members in the House ; the air of impartiality with which 
he did everything that was possible to give an advantage 
to his own side, these deserved to be remembered with 
gratitude by those who were his colleagues. 

The achievement of Sir William Harcourt was in some 
respects greater. In the case of the Redistribution Bill the 
minister had not only a substantial majority to support 
him, but he was carrying out a task which had been under- 
taken at the instance of his opponents, and was therefore 
exempt from their serious opposition. But Sir William 
had to carry a novel and complicated proposal in a House 
where he had only a majority of 40, which would be turned 
into a minority at any moment if he offended the eighty 
Irishmen upon whose support the existence of the Govern- 
ment depended. Indeed the Finance Bill only passed the 
second reading by a majority of 14. Met by a bitter and 
pertinacious opposition, he for thirty sittings argued, and 
explained, and persuaded, with singularly little aid from 
an Attorney-General (Sir John Rigby), who was unused to 
House of Commons debate and unfitted for it, or from his 
colleagues. And on the third reading the majority was 
increased to 20. 

The Government spent the spring of 1895 in what Lord 
Rosebery at the time described as " ploughing the sands " ; 
by trying to pass a Bill for the disestablishment and di sen- 
do wment of the Welsh Church, a project in which they were 
of course supported by the Nationalist Roman Catholics. 

The end came suddenly and strangely. The Home 
Secretary (Mr. Asquith) was in charge of the measure, and 


he fought it with firmness, eloquence, and courage. It 
was almost through Committee when, on June i8th, Mr. 
Gladstone, who was paired in favour of the Government, 
desired to be set free from his pair, and let it be known that 
he was no longer a supporter of the Bill. On the evening 
of the 20th Mr. Asquith was absent from the House, and 
the majority in a division in Committee fell to seven. The 
next night the House was in Committee of Supply. A 
discussion unexpectedly arose about the supply of cordite; 
a reduction in the vote was moved, and when the division 
was taken the Government was found to have been beaten 
by seven. I was not in the House, though I was, I suppose, 
as usual paired. My friend Penrose Fitzgerald voted in 
the division, did not know that anything important was 
happening, did not wait to hear the numbers announced, 
and learned from the newspapers the next morning that the 
Government had fallen. Some people were surprised that 
a vote of confidence was not proposed, which would have 
wiped out the casual defeat ; but if the incident was not 
arranged, which I think it was, it was found to be a con- 
venient way out of a very unpleasant situation. 

Sir William Harcourt was deeply aggrieved at having 
been set aside when the leadership was vacant on the retire- 
ment of Mr. Gladstone. He went on for a year and a half, 
and showed himself an admirable leader of the House of 
Commons, but he was hardly on speaking terms with some 
of his colleagues, and made no secret of their personal differ- 
ences. There was another and stronger reason for the 
ministers being inclined to go out on a matter of small 
importance. The defection of Mr. Gladstone had sealed 
the fate of the Welsh Church Bill. It had been many days 
in Committee, and there had been some difficulty in securing 
even a small majority. Waver ers had been kept loyal by 
being reminded that he, though absent, was supporting the 
Bill by his pair. Now it became very probable that, after 
all the time spent upon it, this Bill, like the Registration 
Bill, and the Local Veto Bill, and the Employers Liability 
Bill, would have to be abandoned. 

1892-5] A NEW MINISTRY 315 

As in 1885 the Government went out upon the Whisky 
Tax instead of Coercion in Ireland, so in 1895 they preferred 
to go out on Cordite rather than on Welsh Church Dis- 
establishment. Lord Salisbury was recalled to office, and 
Lord Halsbury resumed his position as Lord Chancellor. 
Webster and I agreed that we would refuse to submit to 
any limitation of our private practice, and we discussed 
the subject with Lord Halsbury, who was himself strongly 
in favour of a reversion to the old system, and at his request 
I prepared a short memorandum which he desired to have 
with him when the matter was considered by the Cabinet. 
This was on July 3rd. 

On the morning of the 8th I had a letter from the Prime 
Minister saying that the House of Commons members of the 
Cabinet were unanimous in thinking that the House of 
Commons would not give way upon the question of the 
retention of private practice. He went on to say : 

I do not know whether further discussion would furnish 
any opening for an agreement on this matter. Our own 
parliamentary and political advantages, the interests of the 
Bar, as well as our recollections of the past, make us desire 
very earnestly that, if we win at the elections, you should 
resume your old position as Solicitor-General. I have 
thought that under the circumstances the best course will 
be not to make any submission as to the office of Solicitor- 
General until later on. Then, if we win the elections, a 
further effort must be made to discover whether there is 
any middle term between your views and those to which 
the House of Commons seems to cling. 

I of course gratefully accepted this suggestion, and went 
down to the contest at Plymouth. I felt quite confident 
that I should be returned ; but an unfortunate incident had 
made it necessary to find a new candidate for the second 
seat. Sir Edward Bates had retired three years before; 
and my colleague in this Parliament had been a young 
baronet, the son of a notable shipowner and engineer who 
had founded the great Fairfield Works. The son was a 


young man of much ability and charming manners, an 
excellent candidate and a very pleasant colleague, and his 
personal qualities and his generous wealth seemed to secure 
a prolonged membership for Plymouth. Unhappily a year 
after his election he was the co-respondent in an undefended 
suit in the Divorce Court. There was as little moral guilt 
in his case as there could possibly be. The immoral con- 
nection began at Oxford when he was an undergraduate, 
and he had no reason to suppose that the woman who was 
living a life of professional sin was a married woman. But 
a strong section of the Unionists refused to support him at 
another election, and we were forced to seek another candi- 

We found a very good one in the Hon. Evelyn Hubbard, 
the younger son of the first Lord Addington. I could not 
have wished for a better fellow- worker in public life. A 
man of high character and education and great business 
experience, sound in judgement, weighty in speech, dignified 
and courteous in manner, I looked forward with the greatest 
interest and pleasure to our association in political affairs. 
All seemed to go well, and on the day of election we felt 
sure that we should both be elected. We did not go to the 
counting of the votes, but waited with many friends at the 
Globe Hotel to hear the result. When the figures came they 
were: Clarke, 5,575; Harrison, 5,482; Hubbard, 5,466; 
Mendl, 5,298. 

It was a great disappointment, and when it was presently 
explained I was still more mortified. I had almost wearied 
the electors with my exhortations to vote for both -of us, 
and Hubbard had also. At the election in 1892 these 
exhortations had been so successful that exactly the same 
number of votes (5,081) were polled for my colleague and 
for myself. But this time 46 had plumped for me ; and it 
turned out that a number of my oldest and foremost friends 
who did not vote until the afternoon, feeling quite certain 
that we were both winning, voted for me only in order to 
make sure that I should still be the senior member. The 
contest had indeed been much closer than I had expected. 

1892-5] I REFUSE OFFICE 3*7 

Many of the poorer voters thought that my former colleague 
had been ill-treated; the aggrieved shipwrights had not 
quite got over their resentment ; and some of the Liberal 
Unionists slipped back to their old allegiance, now that 
Home Rule appeared to have been finally defeated and was 
not mentioned in the addresses of the Liberal candidates. 

Directly I got back to London discussion began again 
about the Solicitor-Generalship, and eventually Lord 
Salisbury sent to ask me to see him at the House of Lords. 
Webster had given in, and was appointed Attorney before 
his re-election in the Isle of , Wight, so of course there could 
no longer be any question of a reversion to the former 
practice. The Prime Minister was kind and persuasive, but 
I was firm, and eventually my decision was accepted. 

We shook hands, and I was leaving the room when Lord 
Salisbury said, " By the by, I should like to tell you that 
if at any time within the next two years Sir Richard Webster 
vacates the Attorney-Generalship I shall ask you to fill his 
place." I thanked him again for his great kindness, and he 
said, " You may like to have that promise in writing ; I 
will send it to-morrow." 

The next day he wrote me the following letter : 



August i6th, 1895. 


In pursuance of our conversation of last night, I 
write a line to say in the first place how much I regret that 
you will not resume your office as Solicitor-General, and in 
the second to say that in offering it to anybody else I shall 
reserve to myself the right to offer you the office of Attorney- 
General in case it should fall vacant within the next 
eighteen months. If I can fill up the office of Solicitor- 
General on these terms (which I do not doubt), you may 
count on my offering you the post of Attorney-General if 
it should fall vacant within the time I have named. 

Yours very truly, 



A few days later my wife and I (with her old friend who 
had served as her only bridesmaid thirteen years before) 
went off to Italy. We had spent a month there in the 
previous year, travelling by way of Paris and Zurich to 
Locarno, and then visiting Lugano, Menaggio, Milan, Venice, 
Florence, Genoa, and Turin. 

This time we made the first of our sea trips, and went 
to Brindisi by the P. & O. boat Coromandel. We called at 
Gibraltar ; and there I heard to my great joy that my friend 
Robert Finlay had been appointed Solicitor-General. The 
country lost nothing by my refusal of the office. It gained 
the service of one of the ablest men I have ever known, a 
sound lawyer, shrewd in judgement and clear in argument, 
of instinctive honesty in purpose and in word, who during 
the eleven years of legal office which began in 1895 estab- 
lished for himself a reputation and position which, though 
strangely disregarded in the clumsy political transactions 
of 1915, brought him soon afterwards to his rightful place 
upon the Woolsack. 

Landing at Brindisi, we went to spend a week at Naples, 
and then travelled by night to Bologna, just breaking the 
journey for a couple of hours to have a moonlight drive in 
Rome, thence for a stay of a few days at Venice, and then 
loitering homewards by way of Verona, Milan, Bellagio, and 



BEFORE the end of the year the peaceful prospects of the 
Ministry were suddenly and heavily overclouded by the 
opening of a very serious controversy with the Government 
of the United States. My conduct at this time was mis- 
understood by many of my friends, and was wilfully mis- 
represented by others. And in later years it was made a 
subject of reproach. So in this book, which will probably 
be the only record of my public and private life, I think 
that in justice to myself I ought to make the matter clear. 

For more than fifty years there had been disagreement 
and occasional dispute between Great Britain and Venezuela 
about the boundaries of British Guiana. Nothing of 
serious importance had occurred recently to aggravate the 
differences between the two countries, or to convince our 
leisurely diplomacy that they urgently needed adjustment. 

But in the United States a presidential election was 
approaching, and a bid was made for the Irish vote. Dis- 
patches were written by Mr. Olney, the American Secre- 
tary for Foreign Affairs, of an unusual and somewhat menac- 
ing character ; and on December i7th a message was 
received by Congress from President Cleveland in which 
he asked that provision should be made for the expenses 
of a commission to be appointed by the Executive which 
should investigate the boundary question and report without 
delay. And the message went on to declare it to be 

the duty of the United States to resist by every means in 
its power, as a wilful aggression upon its rights and interests, 
the appropriation by Great Britain of any land which after 



investigation may be determined of right to belong to 

These words were received with tumultuous applause. 

The danger of the situation was at once appreciated by 
this country. The Times on the same day on which it pub- 
lished the message said : 

It is impossible to disguise the gravity of the difficulties 
which have arisen between this country and the United 

But it went on to add : 

The main point at issue is not whether a case can be 
made out for submitting the entire Venezuelan boundary 
to arbitration. There are cogent reasons, some of which 
are set forth in Lord Salisbury's first dispatch, against that 
course ; but if it had been open to consideration Mr. Olney's 
arguments and Mr. Cleveland's proposals would have made 
the adoption of it impossible. 

We must stand firmly and calmly upon our rights as an 
independent state, and if necessary take practical measures 
to assert them. It may even be expedient to settle the 
frontier question by drawing a line of our own ; of course 
there can be no thought of anything less than the Schom- 
burgk line, and leaving the United States and Venezuela 
to deal with the matters as they may. 

This was the line generally taken in England, and the 
situation became daily more threatening. On the day that 
article appeared the House of Representatives unanimously 
passed a Bill providing a hundred thousand dollars for the 
expenses of the commission, and a Bill was introduced into 
the Senate for strengthening the military forces at a cost of 
one hundred million dollars. 

There was a heavy fall on the Stock Exchanges. And 
when The New York World sent an appeal to prominent 
politicians in England to speak a word of peace Mr. Glad- 
stone's answer was singularly brief and cautious, and Mr. 
John Redmond, the leader of the Irish Nationalist party 
in the House of Commons, replied, " If war results from the 

1895-6] PEACE OR WAR? 321 

reassertion of the Monroe doctrine Irish national sentiment 
will be solid on the side of America. With Home Rule 
rejected Ireland can have no feeling of friendliness for Great 

On January 2nd President Cleveland appointed his 
commission, and arrangements were made for prompt 
procedure with its work. Had our Government persisted 
in its claim that the Schomburgk line must be considered 
as the fixed and irreducible limit of the territory of British 
Guiana, and that no discussion or arbitration could be 
accepted as to anything within that line, we should in a 
few weeks have drifted into war, and a war in which we 
should have been in the wrong. I felt it my duty to say 
this ; and said it as strongly as I could at meetings at York 
and at Accrington. 

On January 7th, 1896, the annual meeting of my con- 
stituents was held at the Plymouth Guildhall ; and there I 
gave a full account of the Schomburgk line, and of the 
attempts which had from time to time been made to settle 
the disputed boundary. A resolution was unanimously 
passed in a crowded hall that " this meeting while regretting 
the recent action of the President of the United States trusts 
that Her Majesty's Government will use every means to 
procure a peaceful and honourable solution of the long- 
standing controversy with Venezuela as to the boundaries 
of British Guiana." 

I quote a few sentences from my speech : 

With these facts before us it cannot be too late for a 
peaceful settlement of a question such as this. Each side 
must to some extent give way. We cannot under any 
circumstances admit the authority of the commission which 
has been appointed in the United States. We cannot under 
any circumstances recognise it, or take any notice of it or 
its decisions, or submit to any orders which may be given 
to us by the Government of the United States in fulfilment 
of that ill-advised message of President Cleveland. But 
on the other hand it is not reasonable for us to say that 
the line which we in 1840 laid down and communicated to 


other Powers, and communicated to Parliament as being 
the limit of our claims to territory, is now to be considered 
a fixed and unalterable line, and to say that we will only 
arbitrate in respect to areas which are outside. That 
would be to take as unreasonable an attitude as the United 
States has taken in the message which President Cleveland 
has given. I hope that without taking any notice of the 
United States Commission, our Government will be able 
to resume the work of negotiation with Venezuela direct 
upon this matter. I trust that some mediator will be 
found, not to say between the two lines whether this line 
or that shall be accepted, still less to say that a particular 
place in dispute is to be divided as nearly as possible 
between the two, but some mediator who, looking on the 
whole history of the case, at the present condition of the 
Settlements in that country, at the natural delimitations 
which are to be found there and are indicated upon the 
map, will say, as between England and Venezuela, where 
the line should be drawn. I think that such a mediator 
may be found, and that his judgement may with honour 
be accepted by this country as well as by Venezuela. No 
doubt if that course is taken we shall have something to 
bear. We shall have to bear taunts and jibes from political 
opponents here, possibly from those who are not fond 
of England on the other side of the Atlantic. It will not 
be pleasant to be. told that we have given way. It will 
not be pleasant to be told that, after such a message sent 
to Congress, Great Britain has consented to arbitrate upon 
matters upon which she had before refused. It will not 
be pleasant. But what of that ? I do not believe in that 
false and bastard honour which is afraid to do justice because 
justice has been demanded with an insult or a menace. It 
is our business, especially in face of the fearful calamity 
that would be involved in an armed contest between this 
country and the United States, to make up our mind what 
is right in this matter. And when we have made up our 
mind what it is right to do, let us do it quietly, calmly, not 
caring what may be said of us, or what taunts may be 
uttered, but content that we shall have helped to preserve 
the peace of the world by that conduct which alone is worthy 
of a great nation, and shown our capacity to do right 
whatever the consequences or the provocation may be. 1 
1 Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 80. 

1895-6] PEACE 

At the time I spoke at Plymouth, though I was not then 
aware of it, an agreement was being made by which the 
British Government withdrew the condition against which 
I had protested, and agreed to a free arbitration. By the 
award of the Arbitrators in 1899 Great Britain obtained no 
territory outside the Schomburgk line; while Venezuela 
obtained two portions of territory within that line, one 
unimportant, the other an important area at the mouth 
of the Orinoco upon which she had always insisted. My 
contentions were thus entirely justified ; and although my 
speeches may not have influenced Lord Salisbury in taking 
the wise and statesmanlike course which removed all 
danger of war, I think they were of use in justifying that 
course to some of his followers as well as to his opponents. 

This threatening cloud passed harmlessly away, and the 
severe but momentary strain in the relations between the 
two great countries left no evil effects. 

But an incident which occurred at the very time when 
this strain was most acute, and then seemed of much less 
importance, was destined to have grave and far-reaching 
results. This was the Jameson raid into the Transvaal. 

That enterprise failed. Dr. Jameson and his officers and 
men were made prisoners and sent to England, and while 
the troopers were allowed to return to their homes, the 
leader and a number of his followers were at once prose- 
cuted for a breach of the Foreign Enlistment Act. 

It was yet early in 1896 when Mr. Bourchier Hawkesley 
came to instruct me to appear for their defence. It was a 
case of great interest. I did not foresee that in its later 
consequences it would change the course of my public life 
and defeat all my hopes of political eminence. 

The story had begun in the middle of the year 1894. 
Lord Loch went to Pretoria for the opening of the Delagoa 
Bay Railway, and the old President Kruger found himself 
sitting with the British High Commissioner in an open 
carriage over which the Union Jack was hoisted. Kruger 
knew what it meant. He knew that already in Johannes- 
burg the Outlanders English and German were forming 


schemes for overthrowing the Boer Government, and he 
saw that he had now to deal with an attack which would 
be prepared and engineered with the encouragement, and 
he believed the co-operation, of the English Government. 

He immediately began to prepare for the conflict. In 
August of that year negotiations were carried on with 
various European firms for the supply of arms and ammuni- 
tion, forts were built, and the bonds of discipline were 
drawn closer in the very ill-organised forces of the Republic. 
The Transvaal expenditure on services which included war 
expenditure was in 1894 528,526 ; in 1895 it rose to 

Meanwhile the Outlanders' plans were steadily pushed 
forward ; and in the latter part of 1895 they had the active 
help of the British Government. Bechuanaland was a 
British Protectorate, and there had been many disputes 
between the native chiefs and the Chartered Company as 
to territorial rights. A mission of the native chiefs came 
to England; and after many discussions at the Colonial 
Office, where Mr. Chamberlain was now in control, a settle- 
ment was effected. It was arranged that Montisoia should 
transfer to the Chartered Company a strip of land along 
the frontier of the Transvaal, and that possession of this 
strip, which included Pitsani Potlugo, should be given to the 
Company by November 7th. It had also been arranged 
that the British Bechuanaland Border Police, a military 
force which many young officers had joined, being seconded 
from their regiments for that purpose, should be disbanded. 
At Pitsani Potlugo they were enrolled in the forces of the 
Chartered Company, and Dr. Jameson was put in command. 
These arrangements, even if they were not made with a view 
to an attack on the Transvaal, clearly afforded the oppor- 
tunity for such an attack being made. 

The conspirators at Johannesburg were preparing for a 
rising in that town. They had plenty of money ; and during 
that autumn large supplies of arms and ammunition had 
been smuggled into the district as machinery for the mines, 
and were safely stored there. But an actual rising at 


Johannesburg without help from outside would have been 
too risky ; and the nearest point where a supporting force 
could .be gathered was this very spot of Pitsani Potlugo, 
which was only 170 miles from Johannesburg, with no 
important town to be passed on the road. 

Cecil Rhodes, the Prime Minister of Cape Colony, was the 
real mover in the matter ; and the preparations for aft in- 
surrection at Johannesburg, and the assembly at Pitsani 
Potlugo of a force which should support the insurrection and 
suffice to ensure its success, were made with the full know- 
ledge of the English Colonial Office. In the middle of 
December these preparations were practically complete. 
Rhodes went to Cape Town, where Beit and Leonard were 
to await^ results. Sir Hercules Robinson was told that he 
must be within reach if the enterprise should fail, and his 
intervention should be necessary to prevent serious conse- 
quences to the conspirators ; and two regiments of cavalry 
were detained at Cape Town and Durban on their way 
between England and India in case they might be found 
useful. The English forces in South Africa had been 

Miss Flora Shaw (afterwards Lady Lugard) was the 
confidential agent of Mr. Rhodes in London, and had his 
cypher. She called frequently at the Colonial Office, and 
kept Mr. Rhodes informed of the opinions and wishes there 

At Pitsani Potlugo Dr. Jameson quite honestly and 
truthfully told his officers and troopers that the advance 
they were making was in the service of the Queen ; and on 
December 2Qth about 600 men rode out from the border 
territory on the way to Johannesburg. 

An attempt was made to stop them. A difference had 
arisen between Cecil Rhodes, who had agreed that the 
insurrectionary movement should be under the British 
flag, and some of the Outlanders, who wished to retain the 
flag of the Transvaal Republic. 

On December 28th a telegram was sent from Cape Town 
to Dr. Jameson " It is absolutely necessary to delay flota- 


tion. If foreign subscribers insist on floating without delay 
anticipate complete failure" and the leaders at Johannes- 
burg assumed that it would be acted on. But news had 
come to Dr. Jameson that small parties of armed burghers 
had been observed on roads near which his route lay. He 
believed that his reserve of horses and stores at Malmani 
and Doornport had been discovered, and that if he did not 
start then the whole project must be abandoned; so he 
rode forward. 

An accident, or the blunder of a drunken trooper, which 
proved very fortunate for Mr. Chamberlain, prevented the 
cutting of the wires at Pitsani Potlugo, and a telegram which 
was not expected to be delivered was sent ordering Jame- 
son to return. It was delivered but not obeyed ; and Dr. 
Jameson and his men, having changed horses on the way, 
arrived at Krugersdorp on January 2nd. Here a slight 
engagement was fought; but the expedition got past the 
hills where the Boers were posted, and, being within seven- 
teen miles of Johannesburg, could have reached that city 
without difficulty, but that they heard firing to the north of 
the hills where the fight had taken place. The leaders 
thought it possible that their friends at Johannesburg had 
come out expecting to meet them on the northern road, 
and they waited for four hours to ascertain what the firing 

That delay was fatal. When they tried to move forward 
they found themselves surrounded by a force which made 
surrender imperative. They surrendered on a promise 
that their lives should be spared ; and the Jameson raid was 
over. Its chief immediate result was that it provoked 
from the German Emperor, who knew or guessed the real 
facts, a telegram to President Kruger which treated the 
Transvaal as an independent State. There was a growl 
of indignation in England. With admirable promptitude 
a strong flying squadron was dispatched to the Southern 
Seas. And a great increase in our naval expenditure re- 
minded the Kaiser that in the then condition of his fleet 
Germany could only play a subordinate part in the politics 

1895-6] DR. JAMESON 327 

of the world. From his resentful consciousness of this 
fact many momentous results have flowed. 

When the prisoners arrived in London I had the pleasure 
of making the acquaintance of Dr. Jameson, an acquaint- 
ance renewed and strengthened ten years later when he, 
who in the circling wheel of political change had become 
Prime Minister of Cape Colony, received me as his guest at 
Groot Schoor. 

I never met a man whose noble nature shone so strongly 
through all the sayings and doings of a simple and un- 
affected life, and compelled the respect and affection of all 
who came in contact with him. He was " as the greatest 
always are, in his simplicity sublime." 

He talked quite frankly about the happenings in the 
Transvaal. About the consequences to himself he seemed 
absolutely indifferent ; all his concern was for the men 
who had followed him, and so been led into the adventure 
for which they were now to be tried. 

He was very much relieved when it was announced that 
only five of his officers would actually be included with him 
in the prosecution. The proceedings at the Bow Street 
Police Court were almost formal. 

I was of course shown all the messages and letters which 
had passed between London and South Africa, and between 
Johannesburg and Cape Town and Pitsani. 

But I received definite instructions that no question was 
to be asked, or any fact elicited, that might suggest that 
any department or official of the British Government knew 
of the preparations for the enterprise, or was directly or 
indirectly responsible for it. 

The trial at the Royal Courts came on in the last week 
of July and lasted for five days. It was a trial at Bar 
before three judges, Lord Russell, the Lord Chief Justice, 
presiding, and being supported by Baron Pollock and Mr. 
Justice Hawkins. Sir Richard Webster, as Attorney- 
General, prosecuted, with Sir Robert Finlay, the Solicitor- 
General, and Henry Sutton, C. W. (now Sir Charles) Mathews, 
Horace (now Mr. Justice) Avory, and Rawlinson as his 


juniors. I defended Dr. Jameson, Carson (now Sir Edward), 
C. F. Gill, and Alfred Lyttelton being briefed with me ; 
and Sir Frank Lockwood and Wallis 'and Roskill defended 
the other prisoners. 

The trial was conducted with great dignity by the Lord 
Chief Justice. At the Bar Charles Russell had been one 
of the most powerful advocates of his time. His industry 
and energy and shrewd and rapid judgement made him 
always a very formidable opponent. And they were greatly 
helped by his personal advantages. A commanding 
presence, a full clear resonant voice, a flashing eye and 
imperious gesture, often bore down opposition, and unnerved 
the witness he was cross-examining, or a young counsel 
who was appearing against him, and sometimes even the 
judge-. When he had a very strong case and felt certain 
of winning he was superb. But if difficulties unexpectedly 
arose he became impatient and irritable, and would often 
compel a reluctant client to an unsatisfactory compromise. 

When he became a judge the faults of manner and temper 
which had prevented his being very popular at the Bar 
gradually disappeared. His death at the age of sixty-eight 
was a national calamity; for he was then a judge of the 
highest class, just, painstaking, and courteous, sound in 
learning, and resolute that right should be done. I have 
no doubt that if he had been spared for ten years longer 
he would have ranked among the greatest of English 

The Jameson trial was not very interesting. There was 
no dispute about the facts ; and as my instructions precluded 
me from taking the line of defence which would certainly 
have been successful, my chief concern was with certain 
important questions of law upon which I felt sure that the 
ruling of the judges would be against me, although I was 
confident of success when they should be argued before a 
higher court. 

Dr. Jameson did not expect to be acquitted, and I think 
he did not desire it. He was quite willing to bear any 
penalty, and was hopeful that his condemnation and punish- 

1895-6] AN EVIL PRECEDENT 329 

ment might avert serious mischief in South Africa, and 
possibly in England. 

The summing up was careful, dignified, and quite fair ; 
but at its close the Lord Chief Justice made a strange 
departure from the proper and well-established practice of 
our courts. Instead of contenting himself with recapitu- 
lating the evidence and directing the jury as to the law, 
and then leaving to them the responsibility of the verdict, 
he asked them to answer certain questions of fact, and then 
upon their answers directed them to find a verdict of guilty. 
I protested, but the Chief would not suffer any interference. 
Sir Richard Webster, who felt as strongly as I did the 
impropriety of the judge's action, has since (in his volume 
of recollections) said that I missed a great opportunity, and 
expressed his surprise that I did not more firmly insist on 
my protest being listened to. It may be that the criticism 
is just ; but I do not now see what good purpose would have 
been served by a violent scene in court, or by my calling 
on my colleagues to retire with me from the court. The 
protest, however, was not wholly ineffective. I am not 
aware that the evil precedent then set has ever been fol- 
lowed, either by Lord Russell himself or by any other 
English judge. 

The verdict of " Guilty " was with some little difficulty 
obtained ; and then the question arose of arranging for 
the argument of the questions of law. This, however, Dr. 
Jameson absolutely refused to permit. He told me that 
he had made all arrangements for going off to prison ; his 
portmanteau was packed, and he did not wish any more 
discussion about it. 

Five years later there was a curious echo of the Jameson 
case. Speaking in the House of Commons on March gth, 
1901, Mr. (afterwards Sir) Arthur Markham made a violent 
attack on Messrs. Wernher, Beit & Co. He was challenged 
by Mr. (afterwards Sir) George Lewis, writing as their 
solicitor, to repeat his accusations where they would not 
be sheltered by parliamentary privilege, and he promptly 
did so. 


Speaking at the Victoria Hall, Mansfield, on May 7th, 
he said, " I charge Mr. Arthur Beit and Messrs. Eckstein 
with being thieves and swindlers in connection with the 
part they have played in financial operations in South 
Africa." An action for slander was brought at once; and 
in due course the defendant pleaded that his statements 
were true, and gave particulars of justification. 

These particulars contained no allegation of any dis- 
honest action of the plaintiffs in their financial transactions ; 
but dealt in vague terms with the political affairs of South 
Africa, and the part Messrs. Beit had taken in financing 
the Chartered Company. 

The fifth paragraph of the particulars was the most 
important. It stated that towards the end of 1895 the 
plaintiffs became " prime-movers in and instigators of acts 
of armed hostility against the South African Republic." 
It was a serious position for others besides the defendants. 
Mr. Beit came to my chambers with Mr. Hawkesley for 
consultation. They told me that if the particulars stood 
it would take a staff of clerks six months to arrange the 
documents in their possession which would have to be 
disclosed in their affidavit of documents. But much more 
important was the fact that they had, and would be obliged 
to disclose, the originals or copies of the telegrams which 
had passed between London and South Africa or be- 
tween Cape Town and Johannesburg at the time of the 
Jameson raid; the telegrams the production of which 
before the House of Commons Committee had somehow 
been avoided. 

I advised an application to strike out these paragraphs 
of the particulars as irrelevant and embarrassing. Master 
Archibald refused to strike them out. Mr. Justice Jelf 
affirmed his decision. 

Then we went to the Court of Appeal, and had a stiff 
fight before Lord Esher and Lord Justice Stirling. 
Roskill was with me for the plaintiffs, Rufus Isaacs and 
Norman Craig on the other side. Judgment was given in 
our favour, Lord Esher said " Paragraph 5 amounted, 


shortly stated, to an allegation that the plaintiffs made 
political agitation subservient to their personal interests. 

" That was not the charge which the defendant made in his 
speech, and it was not in respect of any such charge that 
the action was brought." 

All the particulars of this kind were struck out. 

No further appeal was made. Mr. Markham withdrew 
his charges and apologised, and the action was withdrawn. 
What was done with the telegrams I do not know, but I 
have no. doubt they soon passed out of the possession of 
Wernher, Beit & Co. 

My grateful clients paid me a very pleasant and graceful 

At that time I was busy as President of the City of 
London College in raising funds for the extension of the 
College premises. Without any communication with me 
Messrs. Wernher, Beit & Co. sent to the treasurer of the fund 
a cheque for a thousand guineas. 



WHEN I came back to parliamentary work at the beginning 
of 1896 I took my seat on the second bench above the 
gangway, just behind my leaders. For the next four years 
I had a very pleasant position in the House. My leaders, 
with one exception which I will mention later on, were very 
friendly, and constantly let me into consultation with them 
on Bills or motions that were under discussion. 

I did not speak often, but the Speaker gave me all the 
opportunities I desired, and although after enjoying for 
nine years the close and pleasant companionships of a 
front bench, I found the position of a private member 
rather dull, there was some compensation in not being 
compelled to constant attendance, and in being quite free 
to absent myself from a debate, or to pair for a division. 
And the authorities of the House were good enough to 
continue to me the valuable privilege of having a private 
room in which I could do my legal work. 

This largely increased. It appeared that the knowledge 
that I was free from official duties brought me more clients ; 
and no doubt the fact that Webster and Finlay were now 
withdrawn from private practice had something to do with it. 

Towards the end of the year 1896 a new subject, and one 
which seemed to me of great importance, was brought under 
public discussion, and I gave much time and labour to 
its study. It was the financial relations between Great 
Britain and Ireland. After the failure of Mr. Gladstone's 
Home Rule Scheme in 1893, the Liberal Government 
appointed a Royal Commission " to inquire into the 


1896-9] IRISH FINANCE 333 

Financial Relations between Great Britain and Ireland 
and their relative taxable capacity." It was a commission 
which consisted almost entirely of members of the Liberal 
or Nationalist parties, the Unionists having refused to serve, 
and was probably intended to assist in some way in the 
revival of the Home Rule Scheme. But for the examina- 
tion of the questions of financial fact which it was directed 
to consider it was a very strong commission. Mr. Childers, 
Lord Farrer, Lord Welby, and Mr. Bertram Currie were 
among its members, and Sir Edward Hamilton and Sir 
Robert Giffen were among the chief witnesses called. 

The commissioners with practical unanimity set forth 
in their report the following conclusions : 

1. That Great Britain and Ireland must, for the purpose 
of this inquiry, be considered as separate entities. 

2. That the Act of Union imposed upon Ireland a burden 
which, as events showed, she was unable to bear. 

3. That the increase of taxation laid upon Ireland between 
1853 and 1860 was not justified by the then existing cir- 

4. That identity of rates of taxation does not necessarily 
involve equality of burden. 

5. That whilst the actual tax revenue of Ireland is about 
one-eleventh of that of Great Britain, the relative taxable 
capacity of Ireland is very much smaller, and is not esti- 
mated by any of us as exceeding one- twentieth. 

Upon the publication of this Report there arose an 
agitation in Ireland which was remarkable for the fact that 
Home Rulers and Unionists, Roman Catholics and Protes- 
tants, all classes and all ranks, were in agreement. 

I carefully studied the two volumes of evidence published 
with the Report, and satisfied myself that these con- 
clusions were fully proved. And it appeared to me that a 
great opportunity was offered to the Unionist party for 
redressing a grievance for which Mr. Gladstone was chiefly 
responsible, and giving a conspicuous proof that Ireland could 
safely trust to the justice of the Imperial Parliament. So 
I devoted to this subject the whole of my annual address 


to my constituents on January 4th, 1897. I said at the 
close of that speech : 

We are told I see it every day that such contentions 
as I have been discussing to-night, and as I have to some 
extent endorsed and supported, lead straight in the direc- 
tion of disintegration or Home Rule. I am of precisely an 
opposite opinion. In my judgement it is essential to main- 
taining our position as Unionists that we should be prepared 
to listen to complaints of this kind, and should be prepared 
to remedy them if we find an injustice has been done. We 
owe justice to all. We owe that justice, strict and scrupu- 
lous justice, to the stranger ; and to one of our own house- 
hold and family we owe something more than justice we 
owe the most generous consideration, the most anxious care 
to see lest there should have been any wrong done, the 
most determined resolution to remedy the wrong if wrong 
there be ; and I do not think we should be diverted from 
that course of honour and of duty even if our poorer sister 
who complains that injustice has been inflicted upon her is 
somewhat querulous, and somewhat unfriendly in the tone 
of her complaint/' 1 

The opportunity was unfortunately thrown away. The 
Government declined to accept the conclusions I have just 
set out, and announced that another Royal Commission 
would be appointed. The terms of reference to that com- 
mission were published. They were clumsy and obscure, 
but practically covered the same ground as had already been 
explored. The Irish members thereupon claimed and 
obtained an opportunity for debating the whole question, 
and on March 29th, 1897, Mr. Blake moved, " That in the 
opinion of this House the Report and proceedings of the 
Royal Commission on the Financial Relations of Great 
Britain and Ireland establish the existence of an undue 
burthen of taxation on Ireland which constitutes a great 
grievance to all classes of the Irish community and makes 
it the duty of the Government to propose at an early day 
remedial legislation." 

Sir Michael Hicks-Beach, as Chancellor of the Exchequer, 

1 Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 96. 

1896-9] A LONG SPEECH 335 

vigorously opposed the motion, but declared that he 
desired to do full justice to the claims of Ireland under the 
Act of Union, but needed further information and more 
time for consideration. 

I spoke at some length on the second night of the debate. 
Indeed it was the longest speech I ever made in the House 
of Commons, and lasted nearly two hours ; but the subject 
was complicated, and needed full as well as careful treat- 
ment. I maintained the contentions I had put forward 
at Plymouth, and insisted that no new commission was 
required ; that the facts had been ascertained ; and that 
the question of remedy was one for the House and the 
Government, and not for any Royal Commission. 1 After 
three nights' debate the motion was defeated by 317 to 158, 
a strictly party division. 

The proposed new Royal Commission was not heard of 
any more. 

The grievance which then existed has been to some 
extent mitigated, though not wholly removed, in later years ; 
indeed in 1898 the passage of the Irish Local Government 
Bill was assisted in the usual way by a dole of three-quarters 
of a million in relief of rates. But I have always regretted 
that occasion was not taken then to adjust fairly the 
financial relations between the two countries with the help 
of Irishmen of different parties who might have been brought 
into direct and responsible relation with the English Govern- 

But in 1897 the Government had a larger majority than had 
been known since the passing of the Reform Bill of 1832, and 
it was believed that Home Rule had been finally defeated. 

Sir Michael Hicks-Beach was very angry at my speech. 
He had never been very friendly, and always resented my 
incursions into financial questions. He knew that I was not 
a sound Free Trader in the sense of the Manchester School, 
and on one occasion when I had been to Sheffield in 1892, 
making an election speech for my friend Bargrave Deane, 
he complained of my advocacy of Fair Trade, and spoke 

1 Selected Speeches, 91. 


contemptuously to Mr. Mundella of lawyers who thought 
they knew something about trade. Our relations were 
somewhat strained after the speech on Irish Finance. 

I spent the autumn of that year at Thorncote, for 
although the Long Vacation had begun parliamentary duties 
prevented my leaving England, and at the end of September 
I received the following letter : 



September ^oth, 1897. 


It is possibly known to .you that Lord Esher has 
intimated that he cannot resume his work in the Courts of 
Appeal after the vacation. In view of some communica- 
tions which passed between us with reference to vacancies 
which might take place within two years, you will probably 
expect that this preface will be followed by a statement 
that I have offered the Mastership of the Rolls to Webster, 
and should be happy to nominate you for the Attorney- 
Generalship. I have made the offer to Webster but he 
has declined. 

All therefore that I can' do, in pursuance of our under- 
standing, is on the principle of cy pres, to ask if you will 
undertake the Mastership of the Rolls. How such an offer 
will strike you of course I cannot judge. It is enough for 
me that your eminent ability and your indisputable position 
at the Bar entirely authorises me to submit the proposal 
to your judgement. 

Yours very truly, 


I had no hesitation in declining the offer, and sent my 
answer on the day I received it. 


I am naturally much gratified by receiving your 
kind letter this morning with the offer of the great dignity 
of the Mastership of the Rolls. It is a great honour to have 
been thought worthy of filling so high a judicial post, and 
the pleasure of receiving such an offer was much enhanced 
by your very kind expressions with regard to myself. You 
have certainly more than fulfilled the promise you made 


two years ago. But tempting as in some respects the sug- 
gestion is, I feel that I ought to decline it. The great loss 
of income which its acceptance would involve cannot of 
course be left wholly out of consideration, but it is not this 
which determines my reply. 

To accept a purely judicial office would at once shut me 
out from that part of the work of my life which gives me 
most interest and pleasure. The House of Commons is, 
of course, less attractive than it was when I sat on the 
front bench and there enjoyed the constant association with 
those who were engaged in the conduct of public affairs. 
But whether in office or not, I hope for some years to come 
to retain my seat in the House, and there to be able to 
render some service to you and to the party which is proud 
to follow you. If at any time a vacancy should occur for 
an English Law Lord, and you thought me worthy of the 
post, I would accept it with pleasure, as I should still be 
able to take part in those public affairs which are not essen- 
tially of a party character. But for the time being I am 
content to remain at the Bar, and I have the satisfaction 
of knowing that there are others better fitted than I for the 
dignity and responsibility of judicial office, which for these 
reasons, and with every acknowledgement of your personal 
kindness, I beg to decline. 

I am, dear Lord Salisbury, 

Very faithfully yours, 


I have never regretted my refusal, though in later years 
I felt some disappointment at receiving no further of er of 
judicial dignity. When I spoke of others better fitted than 
I to fill the post I was thinking chiefly of my old friend 
Mr. Justice Lindley, and a little later I was delighted to 
hear that he had been appointed. He brought to the 
discharge of his difficult duties patience in listening, clear- 
ness of thought, and firmness of judgement ; and a know- 
ledge and experience far larger than mine of the doctrines 
and practice of the Equity Courts. I have no doubt that 
the public service gained by my refusal. 

I need not give any narrative of my doings during the four 
years which followed my refusal of the Mastership of the Rolls. 


My professional income continued steadily at the very 
high level which it had reached, and when the courts were 
sitting I had very few hours of leisure. 

There was little political excitement. In the House of 
Commons everything was quiet. In presence of so strong 
a Government majority the Liberals and the Irish Nation- 
alists were alike helpless. The Irishmen were divided into 
two discordant groups ; no successor had been found to 
Parnell, Blake was a failure, and Redmond had not yet 
made good a claim to leadership. During these four years 
there was a steady course of useful legislation, and I had 
the pleasure of helping to carry into law four measures in 
which I had long been interested. One of these was the 
Irish Local Government Act, which I had mentioned in my 
Southwark Address in 1880 as the first of the constructive 
measures which were required for improving the condition 
of Ireland. 

For the other three I had been working in and out of 
Parliament for many years. 

When I came back to the House of Commons after my 
temporary exclusion in 1880 I found the House discussing 
an Employers' Liability Bill, and the first speech I made as 
member for Plymouth was an attack on the judge-made 
doctrine of common employment which had done so much 
to deprive working men of the benefit the legislature had 
intended to give them. In 1888 we had tried to pass a Bill 
on this matter. It was read a second time, and then went 
to a Grand Committee, where Home Secretary Matthews 
and I were busy many days in discussing the clauses with 
quite satisfactory results. 

Then it came back to the House, and was opposed and 
at great length discussed. The session was nearing its end, 
the pressure of work was great, and all the time we had 
spent on it was thrown away through the foolish rule which 
treats as waste paper all the work that is not finished in a 
single session. 

In 1893 the Liberal Government passed a Bill through 
the House of Commons and then tore it up in a fit of temper 


because the House of Lords insisted on a perfectly reason- 
able amendment on which the House of Commons had been 
almost equally divided. Speaking at Plymouth in 1895, I 
said that we should not think so much of Employers' 
Liability as of Workmen's Compensation, and expressed 
my hope that a Unionist Government would bring in a 
Workmen's Compensation Bill which would secure com- 
pensation to all workmen injured by accidents in the course 
of their employment, without all the appeals and all the 
expense which had retarded the Act of 1880. 

In 1897 Mr. Chamberlain brought in and passed such an 
Act, and I gave him all the help I could. When the Bill 
came on for second reading there was some opposition from 
our own side, and I made the strongest speech I could in 
favour of the measure. Mr. Chamberlain was delighted, 
and paid me an unusual compliment. When I sat down he 
left his place on the front bench, came and sat down beside 
me, cordially shook hands, and warmly thanked me for 
what he called a great service. 

In my Southwark Address I had set out as one of the 
matters upon which I hoped I might usefully assist in the 
work of legislation the removal of the rule which prevented 
a person charged with crime from giving evidence on his own 
behalf and would not permit his wife to be called as a 
witness, and I had lost no opportunity, since that address 
was written, of denouncing that rule as mischievous and 
unjust. 1 This simple and obvious reform had been accepted 
by the House of Commons in 1870 ; it had the support of 
the leading lawyers on both sides of the House ; but it took 
twenty-eight years to carry it. At last in 1898 the Bill 
passed into law, and I hope the speech I made upon the 
second reading helped to swell the majority which then 
supported it. 

An experienced and friendly critic (Mr. now Sir Henry 
Lucy) said it was one of the best speeches I had ever made 
in the House of Commons. 8 

1 See Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 25. 

2 Graphic, April soth, 1898 ; see Spectator of same date. 


There was yet one measure in which I took a very special 
interest. I had for years been busily engaged at the London 
Municipal Society upon the subject of London Local Govern- 
ment. And ever since the year 1883 I had been in close 
and constant touch with the Special Committees of the 
Corporation which, under the able leadership of Alderman 
Faudel Phillips, and Mr. (now Sir) Homewood Crawford, 
had from time to time examined and reported upon the 
various schemes brought forward for the reform of London 
Government; schemes which, when they came from the 
Liberal side, always involved the practical destruction of the 
authority and privileges of the City Corporation. 

Indeed in 1895 I had a good deal to do with the prepara- 
tion of a Report of the Special Committee which not only 
criticised the methods and combated the conclusions of the 
Courtney Commission, but, as The Morning Post said, " con- 
tained a complete plan for the completion of the Local 
Government of London." 

That plan was in substance carried out by the London 
Government Act, 1899. 

When that Bill came on for second reading a formal 
attack was made upon it by the Opposition, and Mr. Herbert 
(now Lord) Gladstone moved an amendment condemning 
the Bill because it failed " to simplify and complete the 
existing system and rendered more difficult the attainment 
of the unity of London." The amendment was in substance 
an attack upon the City, and I rejoiced to have an oppor- 
tunity in the second night of the debate of vindicating the 
great Corporation of whose tradition and dignity and 
efficiency I as a citizen born and bred was very proud. 1 
When that Act was placed upon the Statute Book the chief 
objects which had kept me busy in Parliament for many 
years had been accomplished, and my parliamentary life 
appeared to pass into a quiet phase. 

It was not to last long, and there was a stormy time before 
its close. 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 242. 



SOON after the courts rose for the Long Vacation in 1898 
I went off with my eldest son for a trip in the P. & O. steamer 
Lusitania to the northern capitals Copenhagen, Stock- 
holm, and St. Petersburg. It was a delightful trip, full of 
interest, and included four days spent at Moscow, and on 
the return journey an interesting passage through the lately 
opened Kiel Canal. 

At the annual meeting of the Plymouth Conservative 
Association on October nth I gave an account of a very 
notable event which had happened in Russia just as we 
reached its northern capital. 

The first and principal part of my holiday this year was 
given to a trip to the Baltic, and when I left England on 
August 1 7th there were apprehensions abroad with regard 
to the relations of this country with Russia, especially in 
connection with transactions that were taking place in 
China relations of this country towards Russia which 
could scarcely be described as peaceful relations, and 
appeared to many to indicate the probability of war. While 
we were on the seas the clouds darkened. When I reached 
Stockholm we heard of strong language and strong action 
by our representative at Pekin which seemed to make it 
very probable that serious difficulty would result ; and when, 
on the morning of the last day in August, we steamed in 
among the forts of Cronstadt we had some expectation 
that news might reach us which would disappoint, even at 
the last moment, our hope of seeing St. Petersburg. For- 
tunately that apprehension proved to be unfounded, and 
not only was there no declaration of war between the two 
23 341 


countries, but on the very day on which we had entered 
the roadstead at Cronstadt the Russian Emperor had taken 
a step which I hope and believe may, with the assistance 
of the statesmen and the peoples of Europe, lead to a great 
benefit to the world at large. He invited the nations of 
Europe to confer together as to the means of checking that 
great increase in their armaments which is casting so heavy 
a burden upon the peoples, and upon the industry of Euro- 
pean countries. He took a notable occasion for issuing 
that invitation to peace. He chose the occasion on which 
he was opening in Moscow the memorial to the great 
Emperor Alexander II, who in 1861 gave freedom to thirty- 
five millions of people by the emancipation of the Russian 
serfs. The opening of that monument to Alexander II was 
in itself a notable event in the history of Europe. The 
scene, the circumstances of that memorial were in them- 
selves remarkable. On the brow of the hill which rises 
steeply from the river at Moscow there stands the ancient 
Kremlin, a town within a town. Its walls, two miles in 
circuit, enclose arsenal, palaces, and convents, the wealthiest 
treasury that the world has to show, and the richest shrines 
ever dedicated to Christian worship. And the Kremlin 
crowns with its splendour the manifold beauties of that 
strange city. As you stand upon the hill and look out 
over Moscow, there rise from wondrous fields of dark green 
roofs the gold and purple glories of spire and dome ; and 
there, at the spot which is associated with all that is most 
strange and remarkable in Russian history, the Emperor 
inaugurated the splendid monument, not unworthy in its 
grandeur of the glories of the Kremlin itself, to Alexander II, 
who had conferred this great benefit upon the world. It 
was a remarkable occasion. I believe myself that what 
this Emperor has done in 1898 may be an act fuller in 
blessing and benefit to the world than even the great emanci- 
pation of the serfs of Russia in 1861. It is an invitation to 
the nations to consider how far they are to go on in the 
rivalry of expensive armaments how far it is possible to 
substitute Christian statesmanship for this extravagant 
and wild rivalry of military and naval expenditure/' l 

The appeal of the Czar was not wholly neglected. A 
conference took place at the Hague. The question of a 
1 Selected Speeches, p. 277; Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 124. 

1899-190] WAR FOR COMMERCE 343 

limitation of armaments was scarcely discussed ; but some 
minor resolutions were passed, and one important one was 
unanimously adopted that a permanent tribunal of nations 
should be established in Europe to which when controversies 
arose between them the questions in dispute should be 
referred for arbitration. That proposal of arbitration was 
made by the representative of Great Britain. How utterly 
worthless the declaration was was shown by the conduct 
of the British Government and the British people within 
six months of its adoption. 

Meanwhile a singular incident induced me to make a speech 
which seriously displeased a section of my constituents. 

I was as usual spending the first week or two of January 
among them, and had undertaken to propose the toast of 
" The Port of Plymouth Chamber of Commerce " at the 
annual dinner of that Chamber, which was fixed for 
January 5th, 1899. 

On the morning of that day there appeared in the news- 
papers a manifesto of the Cobden Club which must have 
made the peace-loving founders of the Manchester School 
shudder in their graves. 

It said : 

The Cobden Club should so extend the work it has 
hitherto pursued as to include within its scope a vigilant 
observation of the foreign policy of the Government and 
an effort to secure the constant acceptance of the views 
which are here defined. . . . 

That in any country now passing under the control of 
a foreign power where England had already established 
commercial interests she should insist upon the policy of 
the open door. 

She can assure France or Russia or Germany that while 
she willingly recognises the absolute right of each of them 
to fix whatever tariff suits them in their own countries, 
where whatever interest British subjects may have has 
grown up under their laws and government, she yet cannot 
recognise that they have a similar right in countries now 
passing under their control, and where Englishmen have 
already established interests. She can honestly say to 


those countries, " We do not seek to enforce this as a right 
in our own case, and we dispute and must continue to dispute 
your claim to do so." 

That evening in a speech which I reprinted under the 
title of War for Commerce 1 1 made my protest against what 
I described as " the very dangerous tendency to look to 
force as an agent of the commercial interests of this country." 
I declared that the idea which was lately gaining ground 
of the necessity of increasing the extent of our territorial 
possessions in order to increase the volume of our trade 
was an absolute mistake, and I added : 

But I want to go a step further than this. So far as I 
can judge of facts and figures, it is not simply that there 
is no such profit to be got by taking up claims or by defend- 
ing the " open door " at the cost of war, as some people 
will think. But if it were true that we could to our own 
profit extend our commerce by force by war I should 
denounce the doctrine that we had a right to do it as a 
wicked doctrine. The only legitimate weapons of com- 
mercial warfare are bounties and tariffs ; a lefusal to deal 
with people who will not treat you fairly, the giving of 
special benefits to those whose industrial prosperity will 
be useful to yourselves. You may, if you like, distrust or 
despise those weapons. If you refuse to use them, you 
must rely, and can only rely, on the natural advantages 
of your country, and upon the character, and the intelli- 
gence, and education of your people. It is amazing to me 
to note that men who have stood by unmoved whilst im- 
portant British industries were being destroyed and flour- 
ishing British colonies were being ruined, and have refused 
to do anything to help them because the simple and just 
remedy of an intercepting duty would vex their economic 
orthodoxy as Free Traders, should at this moment appar- 
ently be prepared to embark on a commercial policy which 
means not advancing the welfare of the country, but hin- 
dering it and crippling it by adding the penalties and 
extravagancies of war to the work we are doing throughout 
the world. I have indicated the methods of commercial 
warfare which, I believe, are the only methods that are 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 290; Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 131. 


legitimate, and I protest that if you pass beyond those 
methods of commercial warfare, and seek to extend the area 
of your commerce by the use of Maxim guns and Lyddite 
shells, and all the devilish contrivances of modern war, 
you are embarking on a policy which is a crime in ethics as 
w r ell as a blunder in policy. " War for commerce " sounds 
a very innocent phrase, and may be allowed to pass. 
" Murder for gain " has an uglier sound, but it as truly 
represents the course of the policy which I denounce to-night. 

I was soon made aware of the dissatisfaction with which 
my speech was heard and read. I was not surprised, for 
in my closing sentences I had pointed out that 

Plymouth, lying as it does close to the great harbour 
associated with the naval and military strength of the 
country, might seem the most likely place in which these 
mischievous doctrines might find their acceptance. 

And knowing this I felt myself bound to repeat my 
protest with all the emphasis I could give it when four days 
later I stood before a great audience which crowded the 

I had then no idea that it was the last time I should 
speak in that splendid hall to the constituents whom for 
nearly twenty years I had been proud to represent, but as 
I now quote the final passage of that speech I can almost 
think that I had some premonition of the future. 

I have spoken strongly in Plymouth this time with 
regard to this matter. I am entirely indifferent to criticism, 
and comments which are made upon me with regard to 
speaking thus, when my speaking is for the moment not in 
exact accord with the present popular feeling. I am quite 
careless of that. As the time goes on you will have plenty 
of men to speak to you whose voices are simply the echo 
of what happens to be the wish of the crowd at the time. 
At all events you have not that in me. It has been my 
privilege to speak to you for many years. I have not said 
anything to you which I did not say with my whole heart, 
expressing in it my judgement my independent judgement 


upon public questions. Now I only wish to express the 
hope that as we go forward in the work of Parliament, doing 
that work which is necessary for the good government and 
welfare of the country, we shall be supported by the people, 
resolved to do their duty to the world, as a nation, to do 
that duty steadily and unflinchingly, flinching from no 
sacrifice that is necessary to enforce their right, but shrink- 
ing from any action that will imperil the cause of peace 
unless that action be demanded by the strongest bonds of 
national honour and national duty. 1 

During the early part of this year the difficulties with 
the Transvaal were rapidly becoming more serious. Little 
was known by the public, who for the most part had great 
confidence in Mr. Chamberlain and Sir Alfred Milner, who 
themselves believed almost to the last moment that there 
was no real danger of war, and that President Kruger would 
yield to all their demands as soon as he could be brought 
to believe that this country was in earnest. 

The diplomatic correspondence of the Colonial Office was 
curiously dilatory and unconciliatory, but the Government 
seemed to have little uneasiness, and no important military 
preparations were made. In fact but for an accidental 
meeting between Sir Redvers Buller and Lord Salisbury's 
private secretary no serious preparations would have been 
made at all. It is true that Mr. Chamberlain saw Sir Henry 
Campbell-Banner man and asked him as Leader of the 
Opposition whether he would support the sending of twenty 
thousand of our troops to the Cape, but he explained that 
he did not think there would be any fighting, and that it 
was part of a policy of bluff. Certainly when I left England 
for my autumn holiday there was no general expectation 
that the disputes would result in war. 

I went again to Russia. The trip with my son in the 
previous year had been so pleasant that I wished my wife 
to see the splendours of Moscow and St. Petersburg, and 
the beauties of Stockholm and Christiania and Copenhagen. 
There was then no cloud over our political relations with 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 15; Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 123. 

1899-1900] SIR ROBERT HERBERT 347 

Russia, but when we were passing the Cronstadt forts, and 
the customary strict investigation was made of the list of 
passengers, the inspecting officer pointed out that I had 
come there in the previous year, and expressed some 
curiosity as to my reasons for so soon repeating the visit. 

We had some very interesting fellow -passengers. The 
Dowager Duchess of Cleveland was one of the most delight- 
ful a dear old lady, full of vivacity and charm. But the 
two with whom I spent most of my time on board ship were 
Sir Robert Herbert and Sir Andrew Clarke. 

If I had had the choice of my companions on the trip I 
could not have chosen two more pleasant and more valuable 
than these two distinguished men. Sir Robert Wyndham 
Herbert, a gentleman by birth and character, after a bril- 
liant career at Oxford, entered the Civil Service and rose 
to its highest rank. From 1871 to 1892 he was Assistant 
Under-Secret ary at the Colonial Office. He was described 
by Mr. Chamberlain in one of his interruptions of my speech 
in the House of Commons as " the only person living who 
knows really intimately the history of the whole of this 
(South African) question." 

Sir Andrew Clarke was the great military engineer to 
whose genius and energy we mainly owe the great docks at 
Chatham, and Portsmouth, and Queenstown, and Keyham, 
and Malta and Bermuda, who knew many colonies and was 
as experienced in civil administration as in military organ- 
isation, and was rich in the varied knowledge which made 
his conversation a privilege and a delight. 

With these two distinguished men, both exceptionally 
well qualified to form a sound opinion, I had long conver- 
sations on South African affairs. I found both of them 
gravely uneasy. They were both apprehensive that war 
was coming, and were keenly alive to its difficulties. Their 
chief ground of anxiety did not in fact when war actually 
broke out prove nearly so great a danger as they feared. 

They knew that there was always a great deal of unrest 
among the native population, and were disposed to think 
that there was great probability of a general native uprising 


in the event of a war between the two white races. Of course 
I did not ask Sir Robert Herbert any questions about the 
affairs of the Colonial Office, nor did he give me any infor- 
mation, but we discussed freely the facts which were known 
to the public, and when I returned to England at the end 
of a four weeks' trip I came back with much anxiety as to 
the future, and a resolve to do all that might be possible for 
me to assist in averting the calamity of war. 

When we returned in the middle of September, Lady 
Clarke and I went to Sherborne Castle on a few days' visit 
to my friend Mr. Wingfield Digby. I studied with great 
care all the official papers published during my absence, and 
on September iQth I wrote a letter to The Times, which was 
published the following day. 


After carefully reading this morning the latest 
dispatch of the Government of the South African Republic, 
I turned to your leading article, and was greatly surprised 
to find it described as " unbending and unconciliatory in 
tone" and in substance "a complete rejection of the 
British demands." It seems to me that this is an inaccurate 
description, and one which will seriously mislead the judge- 
ment of the great majority of your readers, who will probably 
not take the trouble to read the dispatch itself and to 
examine it in its relation to the previous correspondence. 

I do not, however, ask you to allow me to discuss in 
your columns the present situation of the Transvaal con- 
troversy. I can find an appropriate opportunity of doing 
that when I address my constituents next week. But I 
beg you to allow me to call attention to a very serious ques- 
tion which at once arises if the Government takes the same 
view as you do of this dispatch. 

You say that Her Majesty's Ministers must now recon- 
sider the whole position, and you add : "A fresh Cabinet 
Council will, of course, be summoned within the next few 
days, though possibly Ministers may not on that occasion 
finally shape those proposals of their own for a final settle- 
ment which they now stand pledged to formulate." 

Now, sir, if this course be taken, and if Ministers, as you 
suggest, treat this dispatch as " necessarily and irrevocably 


closing the chapter opened at the Bloemfontein Conference " 
their first duty will be to advise Her Majesty to call Parlia- 
ment together at once. 

I cannot inngine it possible that they would take the 
responsibility o, advising the Crown to declare war against 
the South African Republic, in enforcement of a policy which 
has not yet been announced or even formulated, without 
taking the propei means of ascertaining whether that 
policy has the approval and support of the people of the 
United Kingdom. There may be reasons, not yet apparent, 
which would justify war with the Transvaal, but we have a 
right to know them before we are committed to such a war. 

Faithfully yours, 


September igth, 1899. 

Then I went on to Plymouth to attend the meeting of the 
Conservative Association, which was usually held at the 
Royal Hotel, but had now to be transferred to St. Andrew's 
Hall in consequence of the great demand for tickets. There 
I found myself, on the evening of September 28th, in 
presence of a crowded audience which for the first time 
in my experience of Plymouth Conservative meetings was 
restless and uneasy, and even at times disposed to be 
tumultuous. A London newspaper proprietor who had 
been attending a wedding breakfast that day was the most 
prominent of the interrupters. The excitement was owing 
to the fact that a few days earlier the Executive Council 
of the Conservative party had passed a resolution which 
was officially communicated to me expressing a very 
definite approval of the course which the Government 
had been taking in recent South African affairs. It appeared 
to be generally believed that this was intended as a censure 
upon me for my letter to The Times and an expression of 
want of confidence in the course that I was taking upon 
this question. 

At the opening of my speech I said : 

I really do not know whether in the minds of those who 
proposed that resolution and carried it there was any 


such intention, and, of course, I should not ask questions 
upon the subject. But the fact that it was passed leads 
me to make, here and now, a very definite statement. If my 
constituents disapprove of the course I have taken in 
writing that letter to The Times, or if they disapprove of 
the opinions I express upon a great public question to-night, 
I hope they will have another meeting of the Conservative 
Executive in the course of next week, and, if they dis- 
approve of my action, will tell me so. I have not the 
least desire to speak in Parliament in the name of those 
who do not agree with my opinions, and if next week I 
was going to say to-night, but perhaps a little reflection 
might be desirable if next week a resolution should be 
passed by the Conservative Executive disapproving of the 
course I am taking, I shall within twenty-four hours resign 
my seat for Plymouth and I will pledge myself not to 
embarrass the party by which I have been so long supported. 
I would not stand at the by-election which would follow 
on my vacating the seat, for I will never condescend to get 
a seat in Parliament by the votes of those who have been 
opposed to me outvoting my supporters. There is no 
question of temper, or of hurt feelings, or anything of that 
kind in the matter ; only I want to make it perfectly clear 
that I will not represent a constituency in which my political 
supporters disapprove of the course I am taking, and it 
is entirely in the hands of the Conservative Association to 
end, if they please, my political connection with Plymouth 
next week. I think it desirable to make that perfectly 
definite statement, because the moment it is made I am 
going to address you precisely as if no such resolution had 
been passed. 

Then I turned to an account of the correspondence which 
had passed between the Colonial Office and the Govern- 
ment of the Transvaal since the date of the Jameson raid, 
and after a full and careful examination of that correspond- 
ence I said, 

I refuse to believe that the Government, which has served 
the country so well in the cause of peace, will now allow a 
clumsy correspondence to issue in an unnecessary war. 

Again I hesitate to quote further from one of my old 

1899-1900] MY PROTEST 351 

speeches, for old speeches are not attractive, but this is 
the story of my life at one of its most important crises, 
and if another were writing that story I think he would 
feel bound to cite the close of this speech, not for any merit 
in the passage itself, but because it is the best account that 
can be given of the feelings with which I entered upon 
the parliamentary conflict which has now to be recorded. 
My action cost me my seat in Parliament, and in the result 
defeated a long-cherished ambition, but I look back upon 
it now with more satisfaction than upon any other part of 
my political career. 

I have confidence in the Government, but there are 
dangers about. The people of this country are hot-tempered, 
speak strongly, speak quickly, and have memories for what 
they consider and rightly consider to have been sad 
events in the past. For one man in England to-day who is 
in favour of war because of the interests of the Outlanders 
there are a dozen who are ready to shout for war because 
they want to avenge Majuba Hill. But how long ago was 
Majuba Hill ? If Majuba Hill were to be avenged at all, 
the time was then, not now. Between Majuba Hill and us 
there have passed eighteen years during which we have 
made conventions, and we have treated with, and have 
assured of our friendship, that Republic against which a 
stormy and tempestuous portion of our people are willing 
now to make war in order to avenge Majuba Hill. 

It would be a disgrace to the country to enter into war. 
What one wants to guard against is the overwhelming 
passion of the moment, and the effect that may be produced 
by the clamorous ignorance of the theatres and the streets. 
It is time is it not ? for those of us who feel deeply on 
matters like this to make an appeal to the conscience of 
the people of this country. It is time to remind our country- 
men of the greatest poem that has been written by any 
living man, and the majestic appeal that was made to us a 
little time ago : 

God of our fathers, known of old 
Lord of our far-flung battle line 
Beneath Whose awful Hand we hold 
Dominion over palm and pine 
Lord God of Hosts, be with us yet, 
Lest we forget lest we forget I 


Lest we forget that our wealth and strength and the splendid 
range of our imperial sway bring to us responsibility as well 
as privilege. We claim we claim it thankfully and not 
boastfully that we are in the very van of the civilisation 
of mankind. Our ships are on every sea ; our traders are 
in every market ; our English tongue is fast becoming 
the language of the world. On every distant continent there 
are growing up colonies sprung from our loins and carrying 
forward our traditions of freedom and of order. Let us 
rise to our great mission. Let us show that we are capable 
of a calm and patient and manly spirit in dealing with 
international affairs prompt to resent insult, steadfast in 
the protection of our national interests, ready to act for the 
protection of our countrymen under whatever government 
they live ; but at the same time having the manliness to 
acknowledge mistakes which we ourselves have made, to 
make allowance for the ignorance, for the prejudice, for the 
suspicions of others and to remember that it is easier 
and nobler for the strong to be generous than it is for the 
weak to be submissive. So shall we show to the world 
the policy and pattern of a Christian State, so shall we 
give the world the blessings of, peace, and give, too, to the 
dear country of our birth the greatest of all honour it can 
have. 1 

The publication of this speech caused some stir. In 
some of the London newspapers, especially those with 
which our London visitor was connected, there were violent 
attacks upon me. I had arranged to speak at Conservative 
meetings, at Penarth on October 3rd, and at Newtown, 
Montgomeryshire and after spending the week-end at 
Maristow with my old and staunch friend Sir Massey 
Lopes, Lady Clarke and I went on the Monday to the Royal 
Hotel, Bristol, on our way to keep these engagements. There 
I received letters telling me that both meetings had been 
abandoned. And a torrent of letters poured in upon me, 
some from friends, congratulating or remonstrating ; the 
larger number, mostly anonymous, full of violent abuse. 

On the Tuesday the Plymouth Executive Committee met 

* Selected Speeches, p. 219 ; Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 1^6. 


and discussed the situation at great length. No resolution 
was passed, and the meeting adjourned sine die; but the 
chairman had promised to write to me asking for an under- 
taking that when Parliament met I would vote with the 
Ministry. That undertaking I refused to give. 


October $th, 1899. 


I have just received your letter in which by direction 
of the Executive Committee you ask me " whether when 
Parliament meets to consider our difficulties with the 
Transvaal " I shall "be prepared to vote with the Ministry." 
I fear that Parliament will have little opportunity for any 
useful discussion of our difficulties with the Transvaal. It 
appears to me probable that by the time it meets this 
country will be already at war with the South African 
Republic, and when hostilities have once commenced I have 
no doubt Parliament will at once grant all necessary supplies, 
as our best hope then will be that by a prompt and over- 
whelming success in arms we may the more speedily arrive 
at an honourable and lasting peace. But holding the 
opinion which I stated last week at Plymouth as to the 
real cause of this unhappy conflict it is impossible for me 
to give the pledge for which you ask. I must hold myself 
absolutely free to vote according to my convictions upon 
any motion which may come before the House of Commons. 
It is for my supporters in Plymouth to decide whether they 
will grant or refuse me this freedom. 

In the following week the Executive Council met, and 
passed a resolution affirming that to which I had referred 
at the meeting at St. Andrew's Hall, and added, "Bearing 
in mind the splendid services Sir Edward Clarke has for the 
past twenty years rendered to the Conservative cause and 
to the best interests of the country, this council refuses to 
believe that he will take any action in Parliament likely to 
embarrass Her Majesty's Government on the Transvaal 

I acknowledged this resolution in the following letter : 


October i6th, 1899. 


I have received with much satisfaction the resolu- 
tion of the Conservative Council at Plymouth. The council 
is quite right in refusing to believe that I shall do anything 
at this juncture to embarrass Her Majesty's Government. 
At any proper time and occasion I shall be prepared to 
repeat and justify the opinions I expressed at Plymouth on 
September 28th. But the situation has entirely changed. 
War has begun, and honour, policy, and humanity alike 
demand that it shall be pressed forward with unsparing 
energy. In that task I trust the Government will receive 
the united support of Parliament and the country. It would 
have been to me a matter of sincere regret if my long con- 
nection with Plymouth, to which the resolution makes such 
kindly reference, had come to a sudden close by reason of 
any expression of an independent opinion upon a subject 
of grave national importance. 

Very faithfully yours, 


Meanwhile on October yth a Royal Proclamation was 
issued summoning Parliament to meet on the I7th. By 
that date, as I had anticipated, the war had begun. 

The most favourable time of year for the Boers to begin 
warlike operations had arrived. President Kruger was 
convinced that further negotiation would only be used by 
the British Government as a means of gaining time to 
complete their somewhat tardy military preparations, and 
naturally determined to strike at once. On October 9th 
he delivered an ultimatum, containing demands which he 
knew Great Britain must refuse, and on the I2th the first 
shot in the war was fired. 

On the 17 th Parliament met, and on the following day 
an amendment to the Address to the Crown was moved in 
the House of Commons by Mr. Philip Stanhope (now Lord 
Weardale). He proposed the addition to the Address of 
the words, " But we humbly represent to your Majesty our 
strong disapproval of the conduct of the negotiations with 

1899-1900] IN THE HOUSE 355 

the Government of the Transvaal which have involved 
us in hostilities with the two South African Republics." 

The motion was ill-conceived, and the debate was not 
very vigorously conducted by the Opposition. 

Indeed it was believed that some of their leaders felt that 
it was a mistake, now that hostilities had actually begun, 
to propose a vote of censure upon which the Government 
were sure of a large majority. To make a party attack 
upon the Government at that moment, at the very time 
when it had to meet the heavy responsibility of con- 
ducting such a war, and when the success of the motion, 
even if success were possible, would have forced an immediate 
General Election with its temporary paralysis of adminis- 
trative action, was generally felt to be an unpatriotic course. 
The Liberals paid heavily for their blunder when the General 
Election twelve months later gave the Unionist party another 
six years of office. 

I spoke on the second night of the debate, and in my 
opening sentences explained why I felt bound to do so. 

Mr. Speaker, I think the House will understand that it 
is with reluctance I take part in this debate. The matter 
is a grave and serious one, and I wish I could hope that 
what I must say on the subject will be welcome and pleasant 
to friends sitting around me. But I ask their forbearance. 
I will make no large claim upon their patience, but there 
are things which it is my duty to say, to-night. I have 
spoken on this subject outside the House, and having so 
spoken, after what has been said I feel it my duty to join 
in this debate. The Leader of the House, in answer to an 
attack hinted at by the Leader of the Opposition, but which 
the right hon. gentleman does not appear to have the 
courage to make directly, said that if the Government had 
been guilty of errors in the conduct of these negotiations, 
he would like to have those errors made known in the 
presence of the representatives of the people. 

It is because I have said elsewhere, and am prepared to 
say here, that I think there have been errors in the conduct 
of the negotiations that I am bound this evening to state 
clearly and distinctly what these errors are. Since I made 


that speech, a fortnight or more ago, I have read with the 
utmost care all that has appeared in the Blue books and 
in the public prints in regard to this matter. I have listened 
to-night to the speech of the Colonial Secretary, and if I 
had found it possible to get up and tell the House that I 
found I had made a mistake, that my opinion was expressed 
too harshly, or upon imperfect knowledge, I hope I should 
have had the courage and it would require less courage 
than the speech I have to make to-night to acknowledge 
my blunder. I would rather have confessed to a personal 
blunder or mistake than say a word in the nature of an attack 
on the Government or any member of the Government. 

But I am bound to say that the more I read of the 
correspondence and learn the circumstances of the case, 
the more I am convinced of the errors in the negotiations, 
and that this lamentable war is absolutely unnecessary. 1 

Then I proceeded to deal with the history of the nego- 
tiations, repeating in substance, with some not unimportant 
additions, the detailed account of them which I had given 
at Plymouth. 

Quite as important as anything I myself said were the 
interruptions of Mr. Chamberlain. He practically offered 
himself for cross-examination, and then in his answers to 
questions firmly pressed (one answer he afterwards said he 
could not believe he could have given) 2 he gave even greater 
force to the criticism I was making. 

I need not here quote from this part of my speech, or 
say anything upon the points which were in issue between 
us. I gave a full and complete statement of my side of the 
controversy, and I hope that any who are still interested 
in this historical question will do me the justice to read the 
whole speech. 

But I remember that once, in 1879, when I went with 
Lord John Manners and Sir Hardinge Gifiard to a meeting 
in support of the candidature for Marylebone of Mr. William 
Forsyth, the author of Hortensius, the candidate, who was 
rather a dull man, from whom no one would expect an 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 221. 

2 Ibid., p. 238 ; see Hansard, series 4, vol. Ixxvii, p. 311, 


epigram, excused himself for not dwelling on the causes 
of theCrimean War which had ended twenty-five years before, 
by saying "That has passed into history and been for- 
gotten." I have often realised how much truth there was 
in the saying. 

There are few now who take much interest in the causes 
of our war with the Transvaal ; its consequences in the 
condition of the world to-day are too absorbing. But I 
hope that those few will find in this speech a complete 
justification of the course I took at the most difficult crisis 
of my public career. 

It is not necessary to this story of my life that I should 
discuss the question whether I was right or wrong in the 
judgement I formed. But I think the closing passage of the 
speech, in which I referred to my personal position, speaking 
as I did with the belief that it was probably the last time I 
should address the House as member for Plymouth, is 
needed to make this story complete. 

I should like to say one personal word to the hon. 
friends around me. I have been for thirty years in active 
political life. I have been for twenty years a diligent 
worker in the affairs of this House. I think I can say that 
during that time I have been unwavering in my fidelity to 
the leaders of my party in this House. Except on one 
occasion, when I made a speech with regard to the financial 
relations of Ireland, I have not in this House spoken against 
the course which my leaders were taking. It is, therefore, 
a great pain to me to speak so now. But my work for the 
party has been amply and completely rewarded. No sort 
of reward or gratitude remains due to me from the party 
or its leaders. It has been rewarded by my being 
permitted for some years to be one of the Law Officers of 
the Crown ; it has been rewarded more than that by the 
constant friendship, and I hope I may say the confidence, 
of the right hon. gentleman whose follower I am proud to 
be. A reward too has been given to me which is, perhaps, 
better than anything else, and that has been the opportunity 
of taking a sometimes not inconspicuous part in the dis- 
cussions of this House. But I am bound to speak thus. 


No man can know that he is right, but he can know whether 
his opinion is an honest one, whether it is absolutely 
unbiased by any question of personal interest, or by the 
more subtle influence of personal antagonism. I know 
that my opinion is an honest one, though it may not be 
right. I hope by and by my hon. friends who are now 
feeling angry and hurt at my conduct may remember that 
there is a deeper and a truer loyalty to party than that 
loyalty which is expressed in the constant going into the 
division lobby at the bidding of the Whip. 

I think they will acquit me of any disloyalty to the 
party in having striven, as I have done, to prevent my 
country suffering the calamity, and my party suffering the 
reproach, of having embarked on a unnecessary war. 1 

My appeal to my friends in the House of Commons was 
generously answered. There were not a few among them 
who shared my opinion as to the conduct of the negotiations 
which had so lamentably failed, but felt, as did I, that the 
clear duty of Parliament was to give unflinching support 
to the Ministers in their efforts to deal with a very dangerous 
situation in South Africa. But whether they agreed with 
me or not they recognised my sincerity, and I did not lose 
a single friendship. But outside I was heartily abused in 
the Press and on platforms, and at Plymouth the situation 
soon became very difficult. 

The attacks in the Press did not trouble me much, and 
I recollect them now with some pleasure, for they gave 
occasion for a very generous action on the part of one of 
my friends. In The Evening News of October 25th there 
appeared a paragraph describing an election meeting at 
Bow, in which it was said that when the reason of my oppo- 
sition to the war was known " the chagrin of a disappointed 
man" its importance dwindled to a pin's head. 

I did not see the paragraph; but a day or two later a 
friend showed me a letter which had appeared in large 
type in The Evening News of the following day over the 
signature of Mr. Alfred Harmsworth (now Lord North- 
cliffe), one of the proprietors of the paper. 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 234. 

1899-1900] A GENEROUS LETTER 359 

I cannot deny myself the pleasure of quoting it in full : 

To the Editor of " The Evening News." 


I notice in an article on the Bow election in yester- 
day's Evening News that your reporter attributes Sir Edward 
Clarke's attitude on the Transvaal question to " the chagrin 
of a disappointed man." 

I have had the honour to know Sir Edward Clarke since 
I was a child, and I take this opportunity of stating emphati- 
cally that you are absolutely in error in making such a 
charge. Though I disagree entirely with Sir Edward 
Clarke as regards both his Venezuela and his Transvaal 
speeches, I should count it a great misfortune for the 
country if we had not among us men of his independence 
of character. It is not a grateful task to place one's self, 
as Sir Edward Clarke has done, in opposition to one's own 
party and nine-tenths of the public opinion of the country. 

I am, yours, etc., 


Daily Mail OFFICE. 

At Plymouth, during the whole time of my long member- 
ship political parties had been very evenly balanced. I had 
indeed been successful at five contested elections, but, save 
in 1886, when circumstances were quite exceptional, my 
majority had never exceeded 160 on a poll of over 10,000. 
In 1895 we had lost one seat to the Liberals, and at the 
by-election in 1898, caused by the death of Mr. Charles 
Harrison, we had failed to regain it, although we had a good 
candidate in Mr. Ivor Guest (now Lord Wimborne), a good 
speaker, with an attractive personality, and the useful 
backing of the Wimborne influence and wealth. 

It was not unlikely that if I stood again at a General 
Election I should be successful; for I think the bulk of my 
old supporters would have stood by me, and I should have 
had many votes from Liberals who agreed with my opinions 
upon the war, and would have been unwilling to part with 
their old member. But this would involve the breaking 
up of the Unionist party ; and it was evident that the work 


of the party organisation would be crippled so long as every 
ward committee was divided, and every meeting disturbed 
by the differences which my action had caused. 

Mr. May, the Conservative chairman, and Mr. John 
Shelly, the chairman of the Liberal Unionists, came to 
London to see me, and we had long consultations. 

It was obviously my duty to remove the personal difficulty 
as soon as possible, and I took the only course which seemed 
likely to be effectual. On November 25th I sent Mr. May 
a letter for publication saying that I should not again 
offer myself as a candidate for the representation of the 
borough. I received at once many remonstrances, and 
some of my old friends thought I was being shabbily treated 
and expressed their indignation pretty strongly. So I 
wrote to one of them a full explanation of my action. 

Your letter is one of many that I am receiving from 
old friends and supporters who do not desire to accept as 
final the announcement that was made last week. Of course 
it is pleasant to me to note the strength and extent of this 
feeling, but if it were publicly expressed it would do the 
very mischief which I am trying to prevent. We have 
a majority at Plymouth ; but it is not a large one, and we 
can only get both seats by good organisation and absolute 
unity between the two candidates. We have had two 
interesting experiences, one very pleasant, the other very 
disappointing. In 1892 Sir William Pearce and I polled 
exactly the same number of votes (5,081) and won both 
seats. In 1895, at three o'clock in the afternoon, both 
sides thought that Mr. Hubbard and I were winning. Some 
of my old friends were anxious to see me at the top of the 
poll, and plumped for me. Forty-two did so, and Mr. 
Hubbard was beaten by twenty- six. At the next election 
to Parliament there will be a division in the ranks of our 
opponents, and if our people are absolutely united I think 
we must get both seats. But I implore my friends not to 
allow any feeling of sympathy with me to induce them to 
let the idea get about that I have been in any way ill- 
treated. It is not so. I recognise the actual condition 
of political affairs, and I, without hesitation and without 
complaint, stand aside when I can be no longer useful. 

1899-1900] ONE MORE SPEECH 361 

I spoke once more to the House of Commons on 
February 2nd, 1900, in the course of the six nights' debate 
upon another amendment to the Address. Mine was not 
a controversial speech, and I appealed to the leaders of the 
Opposition not to insist upon a division which would be 
misunderstood and misconstrued abroad. I said, 

I, for one, will gladly vote with the Government, because 
now, when the war is waging, when it is impossible to stop 
the war without doing more mischief to our Empire and 
producing more misery in the world, we must carry the 
war to its ultimate conclusion ; that is the successful issue 
of our arms, and the establishment of a satisfactory state 
of things in South Africa. 

But I urged that no declaration should be made by the 
Government which would close the way to an honourable 
settlement with our opponents, and I suggested that the 
Prime Minister should take under his own control the 
correspondence of the Colonial Office with South Africa, 
and that Lord Rosebery should be asked to go out and 
deal with the solution of the difficulties there. 1 This sug- 
gestion was of course keenly resented by Mr. Chamber- 
lain's friends. 

Meanwhile the situation at Plymouth had somewhat 
changed. Very soon after my speech there in September 
it was suggested in The Western Morning News that an 
immediate by-election would probably result in the un- 
opposed return of Mr. Ivor Guest. As the weeks went by 
it was clear that the tide of public opinion was running 
strongly in favour of the Government. At the municipal 
elections at the beginning of November there were great 
Conservative gains. In Plymouth there was a contest 
in Compton Ward, and the Conservative beat his opponent 
by two to one. At Exeter Henry Northcote vacated his 
seat on being appointed Governor of Bombay, and Sir 
Edgar Vincent defeated the Liberal candidate by a greatly 
increased majority. The leaders at Plymouth had reason 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 235. 


to believe that the Liberals would not bring forward a 
candidate at a by-election, and quite rightly thought 
that the immediate election of Mr. Guest, coupled with my 
determination not to be a candidate at the General Elec- 
tion, would put an end to their difficulties. 

On February 9th I received a letter asking me to resign. 
That evening I paid my last visit to the House. Lady 
Clarke came down and dined with me there, and I sent 
in my application for the Chiltern Hundreds. 

On February loth, 1900, I ceased to be a Member of 


IT seemed very strange to me at first to be no longer a 
Member of Parliament. My thoughts and studies and the 
arrangements of my life had been for twenty years so much 
influenced and almost determined by my duties at the 
House of Commons, and my hopes for the future had been 
so closely interwoven with that political work, that it was 
hard to realise that occupation and hopes had all suddenly 
disappeared. And I sorely missed the constant companion- 
ship of the friends with whom I had been wont to discuss 
day by day the affairs of the world. And although, as I 
have told in a previous chapter, the measures in which I 
had taken the greatest interest had during the last four 
years been happily accomplished there must always be 
useful public work to be done in which I had hoped to 
take my share. And I had much anxious doubt whether 
the circumstances in which my connection with Plymouth 
had ended would not prevent my being accepted as the 
Unionist candidate for any other constituency. I could 
not easily reconcile myself to the idea that I might be per- 
manently excluded from the House of Commons. But 
these regrets and anxieties were overshadowed by a more 
serious anxiety at home. In April 1899 my daughter 
had been married to a young officer in the Northamptonshire 
Regiment. Six months later he was sent out with his regi- 
ment to South Africa. They were going out, as all thought, 
on a very short errand. It might be that the war would 
be over before they reached the Cape ; at all events no one 
doubted that by Easter they would be back. Two years 



and a half passed before the husband and wife saw each 
other again. And during the first three months after their 
parting there came the heavy news of successive defeats. 
Talana Hill and Lombard's Kop in October, Stormberg, 
Magersfontein, and Colenso in the black week of December, 
and Spion Kop a month later, with their heavy lists of killed 
and wounded, made us eager to see the newspapers, yet 
almost dread to read them, lest there should be some 
awful news for the brave little wife who had come back to 
her father's home. 

After I left the House I took no further part in political 
controversy. I retained my office as President of the 
Holborn Conservative Association and spoke at the annual 
meetings, but with that exception I did not make a political 
speech for nearly three years. But it was not long before 
suggestions were made to me as to my return to the House 
of Commons. In the letter in which Sir Michael Hicks- 
Beach answered my resignation he expressed the hope that 
my absence from the House would be only temporary, and 
in June Captain Middleton, the chief Conservative agent, 
wrote to tell me that our friends at Portsmouth were very 
anxious to know if I would be willing to accept an invita- 
tion to contest that borough. I thought it curious that the 
first suggestion should come from a constituency where the 
naval and military interests which had been hostile to me 
at Plymouth were so strong, and I at once refused the 

A month or two later the resignation of Alderman Sir 
Reginald Hanson caused a vacancy in the City of London, 
and my name was at once mentioned. But Sir John 
Puleston, the Conservative chairman, wrote to me to say 
that it was considered that the regular practice must be 
followed of an alderman succeeding an alderman, and that 
the war feeling in the City was too strong for my candi- 
dature to be put forward by the Association, even if the 
other objection could be got over. The understanding that 
one of the City members should represent the bankers, and 
one the Court of Aldermen, had prevented Sir Joseph 

1900-1905] MORE HOLIDAYS 365 

Dimsdale from being brought forward in 1892, and he was 
now brought forward and elected. 

The passionate war feeling of September 1899 had been 
somewhat sobered ; but there were many people whose 
irritation at finding how long and difficult was the task of 
completely subduing the Boers made them the more bitter 
against those who had striven to prevent the war or to 
bring it to an early close. So I resigned myself to what I 
hoped would be only a short absence from the House. 

This absence had one very important compensation. For 
twenty years my duty to my constituents and political 
speeches elsewhere had interfered with every holiday. 
Every Christmas and Easter and every October a visit had 
been paid to Plymouth, and the last month of the Long 
Vacation had always been given up to political work. Now 
the shorter holidays were quite free, and I made good use 
of them. 

In 1900 my wife and I spent the Easter fortnight at 
Rome, and saw the great pilgrimages and services of the 
Jubilee year. The following year we went to the Riviera 
at Easter, had a long trip to Italy in the autumn, and in 
December paid the first of three Christmas visits to Egypt. 
In 1902 our Easter change was to Algeciras, in the autumn 
some weeks were spent at Parame, and then we had a 
delightful month in Spain, with a good courier, seeing the 
beauties of St. Sebastian and the glories of Burgos, and 
Cordova, and Granada, and Seville. 

It was a great gain to me to be able to take at this time 
these untroubled holidays. For it seemed as if every 
change in my political position, whether a success or a 
reverse, had the effect of increasing the pressure of my 
professional work. The strain of work during this latter 
year was very severe, and in December I had something of 
a nervous breakdown, which sent me off to Egypt for a few 
weeks, and was a warning I did not disregard. After the 
end of 1902 I refused a great many briefs, and this soon 
caused a rumour to get about that I intended to retire 
from practice. In 1904 this impression was very much 


strengthened by the fact that my friends at the Hardwicke 
Society made me their chief guest at the annual dinner, 
and formally congratulated me on completing my forty 
years at the Bar. That was the most expensive dinner I 
ever attended. Clients became convinced that I was about 
to retire, and my income fell off more rapidly than I had 
expected or desired. 

This did not, however, trouble me much. I had spent 
money freely, though I hope not unwisely, I had made a 
moderate provision for my children, and there remained 
sufficient for the comfort of the closing years of life, even if 
I did not get the judicial appointment which I still thought 
would probably be offered me. 

I must mention one fortunate circumstance which 
helped me in my time of heaviest work. In 1900 the lease 
of my house in Russell Square expired. We did not take 
another house in town, but contented ourselves with our 
pretty home at Staines, and only occasionally staying in 
London, either at one of the hotels or in a flat at Whitehall 
Court. This was a great gain in health and in enjoyment. 

The chief incident in my life in 1903 was a very pleasant 
trip to Canada with my eldest son. Early in that year a 
well-known tourist agent made arrangements for a parlia- 
mentary party which was to consist of members of the 
House of Lords and the House of Commons, and was to 
make a progress through Canada from Quebec to Victoria, 
being received and entertained by the principal public 

Ex-members of the House of Commons were invited to 
join. Lord Lyveden undertook to be the guide and con- 
ductor of the party. The scheme promised to be very 
successful. Many members sent in their names as desiring 
to go, and a very generous welcome was assured to them 
in Canada. 

But the fair prospects of the undertaking were destroyed 
by the breaking out in England of the Tariff Reform con- 
troversy. On May I5th at Birmingham, and a fortnight 
later in the House of Commons, Mr. Chamberlain had set 

1900-1905] MY TRIP TO CANADA 367 

forth in definite and somewhat imperative terms a scheme 
of Tariff Reform which it was quite evident would divide 
the Unionist party, and would probably break up the 
Government. The new movement was soon organised, and 
in July the Tarifi Reform League held its first meeting. 
It seemed so likely that there would be a political crisis 
before many weeks had passed that most of the politicians 
who had intended to join the Canadian trip withdrew. 
The reasons which detained them at home made me the 
more anxious to go. I had received a very tempting invi- 
tation to stand for Brighton ; where I was assured that an 
immediate by-election could be arranged with entire 
confidence that I should be returned. I had deferred my 
answer until after the Canadian trip, and was anxious to 
have time to study the Colonial aspects of the fiscal question, 
and to have an opportunity of discussing it with the leading 
statesmen of the Dominion. 

When on August 20th the excursion party embarked at 
Liverpool we were only twenty- three in number ; and 
among us were to be found only one peer besides Lord 
Lyveden, and only three members of the House of Commons ; 
Mr. Gumming Macdona, the member for Bermondsey, 
Colonel Sadler, member for Middlesbrough, and Mr. (after- 
wards Sir) George Doughty, member for Grimsby, and I, 
were the only persons in the group who had any connection 
with the House. It would clearly be absurd to attribute 
to us any representative character, so it was arranged before 
we arrived at the St. Lawrence that the public receptions 
and dinners should be abandoned, and the parliamentary 
character of the trip should be quite given up. We were 
to consider ourselves a party of private travellers, who, 
however, would profit by the special arrangements which 
had been very kindly promised by the authorities of the 
Canadian Pacific Railway. 

This scheme was not entirely carried out, for, with a 
tolerant and most generous hospitality, the mayors and 
harbour boards insisted on showing to our attenuated and 
undistinguished party the attentions which they had intended 


to pay a really representative body of English parliamen- 
tarians, and at Montreal we were entertained at a delightful 
dinner by Lord Strathcona. 

The change in the character of the trip was a great ad- 
vantage to me. There were fewer speeches to be made, and 
I came in for a good deal of personal attention from the 
leaders both in politics and law. At Montreal I was enter- 
tained at dinner by the Quebec Bar ; Mr. Donald MacMaster, 
the batonnier, presided, and five judges and about thirty 
King's Counsel were among the large company which did me 

A similar dinner was given at Toronto ; and there a great 
gathering of several hundred Freemasons was promptly 
arranged to salute me as a Past Grand Warden of the Craft. 

At Ottawa I met the politicians, and I will transcribe a 
few sentences from my letter to Lady Clarke relating my 
doings there. 

When we were at Montreal I had a letter from Senator 
Casgrain asking Percival and myself to lunch with him at 
the Ottawa Club to meet Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Fitz- 
patrick, the Minister of Justice, so as soon as we reached 
Ottawa we went up to the club and had a very pleasant 
little lunch. Sir Wilfrid seemed much better than when 
I saw him last year at Jersey, and was very open and frank 
in conversation. 

We discussed the Canadian questions, and from him and 
Fitzpatrick I obtained some very useful hints. 

After lunch the senator took us across to the Senate and 
there introduced us to some of the principal men, and the 
Speaker gave us seats on the Floor close by his chair to 
listen to the debate. The Senate, however, is a particularly 
bad place for sound, and not much of importance was going 
on. It was otherwise in the Lower House. There we were 
just in time to see the House going into Committee and 
beginning a long sitting which lasted from that day until 
11.30 the next night. 

Mr. Fitzpatrick asked us to dine the next evening at the 
Rideau Club, and the Premier promised to come. 

We went, and had a most interesting dinner. I sat 
between Sir Wilfrid Laurier and Mr. Blair, who was Minister 

1900-1905] CANADIAN STATESMEN 369 

for Railways, and has just left the Government because of 
a disagreement as to the cost of the new railway line which 
is to be made for the purpose of opening out the district 
north of the present transcontinental lines. 

Among the other guests were Mr. Fielding, who is looked 
upon as the probable successor of Sir Wilfrid Laurier, and 
Mr. Monk, the Leader of the Opposition, besides a couple 
of judges. It was an extremely pleasant party, no for- 
mality, no speeches, but a pleasant interchange of opinions 
about Canadian and imperial politics, and when the party 
was breaking up I had a very useful talk with Mr. Monk. 
Then a senator was left to keep us company until our 
train started, and the Ministers went over to resume their 
places, expecting another all-night sitting. As a matter 
of fact, an agreement was come to about 11.30, and the 
weary legislators went home to bed. 

We went on to Toronto, and I quote a few more passages 
from my letters : 

On Sunday morning we went to St. James's Cathedral, 
the finest Anglican Church here, and a very spacious and 
beautiful building, to hear Bishop Du Moulin of Niagara, 
who used to be preacher at this church, and is considered 
the best of the Canadian preachers. He gave us a very 
vigorous discourse, a fine piece of pulpit declamation, but 
not very Christian in tone. The early part of the sermon 
was devoted to a strong denunciation of trades unions 
and of women who earn their own living. The latter part 
had not much to do with the text or introduction, but was 
very finely delivered. 

When I came into the hotel in the afternoon, I found 
a card from Mr. Goldwin Smith, so we went to his house 
at once to return the call. He recalled meeting me at a 
Fishmongers' Hall Dinner, many years ago, and I was able 
to remind him of the subject of our conversation then. 

Pic lives in a pleasant English -looking house, the oldest 
brick building in Toronto, with spacious lawns in front and 
well-grown trees. Himself is a fine tall old man of just 
eighty years of age, very vigorous and very positive and 
definite in his ideas. We talked for an hour or more that 
is to say, he talked and I kept the conversation going in 
the direction upon which I wanted to hear him. 


For many years he has proclaimed his belief that Canada 
and the United States are destined to constitute one great 
republic, and he holds that opinion still ; but he recognises 
that the strength of Canada, by the increase of its popula- 
tion and by the great transcontinental railway, has made 
the probability of a Union for the time less than it was. 

He does not appear to approve of any person or thing 
that he talks of, and was most bitter in his description of the 
Government, and administration, and people, and press, of 
the United States. 

As to our fiscal question, he is a strenuous opponent of 
Mr. Chamberlain, as much I think from a dislike to the man 
himself as from any careful estimate of economical consider- 
ations. He admits that the Canadian people are at present 
very loyal, giving the credit for the friendship felt towards 
us in Lower Canada to the influence of Sir Wilfrid Laurier ; 
and he says that the tariff question with Germany, of 
which Mr. Chamberlain has made so much, has been 
practically unknown or at least unnoticed by the Canadian 

Our conversation over, he showed us the house, especially 
the library, which I wanted to see, and in which to my 
astonishment I found a billiard table. 

The next morning I had a letter from him asking Percival 
to dine there last evening if he were not going to dine 
with the Ministers at Parliament House, and repeating in 
characteristic fashion the two main propositions which he 
desired me to carry away from his monologue. 

However, Percival was going with me to the dinner which, 
last evening, we very greatly enjoyed. 

The Premier was in the chair, I was between the Chief 
Justice and Attorney-General, who is here, as he ought to 
be everywhere, a member of the Cabinet, and next but one 
to me was a very remarkable man, Colonel Denison, who is 
the intrepid representative here of Mr. Chamberlain's policy. 
We had a number of speeches. The Premier is a brilliant 
speaker, and gave us a very charming address and \velcome. 
Four speeches followed by the representatives of " The 
Law," the Chief Justice, " Commerce " by a senator, whose 
name I forget, "Religious Influences" by a Canadian 
clergyman there, and " Banking and Trade Affairs " by a 
Mr. Walker, a very admirable speaker, whose contribution 
to the evening was of substantial value. 

1900-1905] BALFOURISM 371 

I proposed the health of the Premier, and I believe gave 
them a pretty good example of our style. 

When we reached Vancouver we heard some startling 
news from England. There had been notable changes in 
Mr. Balfour' s Cabinet. On September i8th he had accepted 
the resignations of Mr. Chamberlain, the leader of the new 
Protectionists, and Lord George Hamilton and Mr. Ritchie, 
the staunchest Free Traders among his colleagues. The 
full history of that very curious incident has yet to be 
written ; but it seems clear that Mr. Balfour, who had avowed 
that he had no settled convictions on the fiscal question, 
was climbing up higher on the fence, and, when Mr. Cham- 
berlain left him, dexterously got rid of the colleagues who 
were most strongly pledged to definite opinions on the 
other side. It looked for a few days as if the Government 
must break up and an immediate General Election follow, 
and Macdona, Sadler, and Doughty telegraphed to the 
Unionist Whips to say they would return to England at 
once if they were wanted. But Mr. Balfour somehow 
managed to detain the Duke of Devonshire in the Cabinet 
for a fortnight longer. An immediate dissolution was 
avoided, and there began that process of gradual disintegra- 
tion which in little more than two years brought the Unionist 
party to overwhelming defeat. 

So we continued our journey to Victoria ; and on our 
return I left the party and spent a few days in New York. 
I wrote to Lady Clarke : 

I think I shall accept the invitation to Brighton without 
troubling about the City. There are two considerations 
which seem to me to tell in favour of Brighton. One is 
that a month in Brighton would be more pleasant and more 
wholesome than constant City dinners ; and another is 
that a City member has no opportunity of making periodical 
speeches to his constituents, such as I should find it pleasant 
to make in the Brighton Pavilion. However, we will talk 
about that when I get back. The decision must then soon 
be made, and the contest will really begin at once. 


When I returned to England in October I went down to 
Brighton and addressed the Committee of the Conservative 
Association, and was adopted by them as their candidate 
at what I expected to be an immediate election. But Mr. 
Chamberlain had made some headway there ; while I was, 
as I had been from my first entry into political life, a firm 
opponent of any proposals to put taxes on food or on raw 
materials. If the understanding on which I had come 
forward had been adhered to and a sudden election had 
taken place, I feel sure that I should have been returned 
indeed, I doubt if there would have been a contest. But 
some of the retired military men, who are an influential body 
at Brighton, had not forgiven my speeches against the war ; 
some of the traders were dissatisfied because I would not 
endorse Mr. Chamberlain's proposals ; and the Committee, 
under the masterful chairmanship of Colonel Verrall, decided 
that it would be better to wait until the General Election. 
It was a very unwelcome decision to me. I wanted to get 
back into the House of Commons ; and if I had abandoned 
the candidature at Brighton what had happened there would 
make it less easy to find a promising opening elsewhere. I 
felt also that my retirement would not be quite fair to the 
constituency, or to my good friend Gerald Loder, who had 
been very active in trying to secure me as his colleague. So 
I accepted the situation, and set myself to the troublesome 
and very expensive work of making myself known to all 
classes in the constituency. In the late autumn of 1903, 
and again in 1904, I took a good house on the sea-front, 
and we had our carriages and horses down, and entertained 
and visited very freely. I should have gone on like this 
until the General Election, spending a great deal of money, 
and feeling painfully the difference between my new 
surroundings and my dear old friends at Plymouth, when I 
was fortunately rescued by a quite unexpected incident. 

In April 1905 Mr. Loder was appointed one of the Unionist 
Whips, and had to come down for re-election. 

Two experts in electioneering had been sent down to 
make inquiries, and reported that the seat was safe. I at 


once suggested that the other seat should be vacated, and 
a double by-election arranged. But this would have 
caused delay. So Mr. Loder was nominated, and Mr. 
Villiers, a son-in-law of Lord Wimborne, came out to oppose 
him. It seemed odd to have Lady Wimborne and her 
daughter canvassing against us, for the last time I had met 
them I was canvassing with them at Plymouth when Mr. 
Ivor Guest was standing on the Conservative side in 1898. 

For a time all seemed going well, but as the polling day 
drew near there were signs, obscure but unmistakable, that 
the tide was turning against us. The fact was that Mr. 
Loder was a director of the London, Brighton, and South 
Coast Railway, and just then there was a difficulty between 
the directors and the men employed in the engine sheds. 
The Liberals made the most they could of the trouble ; and 
when the polling took place it made a difference of several 
hundred votes, and Mr. Loder was beaten by 817. 

I gladly took the opportunity of releasing myself from 
an uncongenial position ; and with mutual goodwill, and 
I think mutual relief, the constituency and I parted. 

This left me free ; and very shortly afterwards a way was 
opened for renewing negotiations with regard to the seat 
for the City of London. 

It did not now seem that there would be any difficulty 
about my getting back to the House of Commons, for I 
soon had invitations from other places. Mile End and 
Southampton were proposed, but they would have meant 
doubtful contests ; Hornsey and Shrewsbury were offered, 
and they were safe Conservative seats. But my prospect 
of achieving the great object of my ambition was now too 
promising to be relinquished. 



I HAD many friends in the Court of Aldermen, and of these 
the two who interested themselves most in my political 
career were Sir David Evans, who had been Lord Mayor 
in 1892, and Sir William Treloar, who had served the 
Shrievalty in 1899, and whose turn for the mayoralty would 
come in November 1906. It was understood that Sir 
Joseph Dimsdale, whose mayoralty in the year of King 
Edward's Coronation had rivalled in splendour those of 
Sir Reginald Hanson in the Victoria Jubilee year of 1887, 
and Sir George Faudel Phillips of the Diamond Jubilee of 
1897, and who had been loaded with honours, and was now 
Chamberlain of the City, was inclined to withdraw from 
parliamentary work ; and although two or three members 
of the Court coveted the succession there was not a majority 
in that body for any one of them. In the autumn of 1905 
Lady Clarke and I went for a trip in the P. & O. boat Vectis 
to the Mediterranean, and among our fellow-passengers 
were Sir David Evans and his pretty daughter. He and I 
talked much about politics, and he proposed that my name 
should be brought before the Court of Aldermen, so that if 
the seat was not wanted for one of themselves they might 
appear to retain their privilege of nomination by putting 
me forward as their candidate. Directly we returned to 
London Sir William Treloar came into consultation, and 
took up the scheme with characteristic energy. The 
Aldermen were sounded separately, and while the two or 
three who wanted the seat themselves" were rather lukewarm, 
each promised to support me if not himself selected. Only 



one member of the Court was definitely hostile. When my 
two friends had discussed the matter confidentially with 
every member separately, and knew that the proposal must 
succeed, it was brought before the Court at a private 
meeting, and the result was that, with the one single 
exception, it was agreed that I should be recognised as the 
official candidate of the Court of Aldermen. 

Meanwhile I had been in communication with Sir Joseph 
Dimsdale, and he had given me a promise that he would 
retire whenever the General Election came, and would, in 
announcing his resignation, express the hope that I would 
succeed him. Sir John Puleston, the Conservative chair- 
man, had been, as member for Devonport, in close political 
association with me, and there were personal reasons which 
assured me of at least his ostensible support. With Alban 
Gibbs (afterwards Lord Aldenham) I was in pleasant per- 
sonal relations, and I knew that to him I should be an 
acceptable colleague. 

So a meeting of the Executive Committee of the Con- 
servative Association was held. I addressed it. The Com- 
mittee recommended me to the Association ; and at the 
meeting of the whole body the recommendation was received 
and approved, and I was the accepted candidate of the 
party. The interval between this adoption and the actual 
election did not pass quite smoothly. Claude Hay, a stock- 
broker or jobber, had some years before conceived a great 
dislike to me because I, as President of the Holborn Con- 
servative Association, had been instrumental in preventing 
his being accepted as candidate for that borough, when 
Mr. Gainsford Bruce was raised to the Judicial Bench. He 
joined Mr. Faithful Begg and Mr. Frederick Ban bury in 
getting up an application to Lord Curzon, who had just 
returned from India, asking him to come forward for the 
City. I heard of it, and wrote at once to Lord Curzon telling 
him that whoever came forward I should certainly go to 
the poll, and I received a prompt and very friendly reply 
saying that I might be sure that he would never stand in 
the way of my return to the House of Commons. 


It was rumoured that an attempt would be made to induce 
the Conservative Association to rescind their resolution in 
my favour, and I knew that the thoroughgoing supporters 
of Mr. Chamberlain were dissatisfied with my opinions on 
Tariff Reform. 

We promptly took precautions, and arranged that if 
necessary a separate election committee should be formed, 
of which Sir William Treloar would be chairman, and Sir 
David Evans vice-chairman. 

However, the trouble passed away ; and when the nomina- 
tions took place Mr. Gibbs and I were the only candidates 
on the Unionist side, against Sir West Ridgeway and Mr. 
Felix Schuster, who stood as Liberals. 

There were several nomination papers for each candidate. 
One of mine was signed only by members of the Bar, not 
all of them belonging to the Unionist party. But the 
most remarkable was one signed by nine Aldermen who 
had served the office of Lord Mayor. We had a short but 
very lively contest. I took rooms at De Keyser's Hotel on 
the Embankment at Blackfriars, and was hard at work all 
day with meetings and canvassing. 

One early morning was spent at the Central Meat Market 
at Smithfield, and another among the fish salesmen at 
Billingsgate. At Lloyds, at the Baltic, at the Corn Market 
in Mincing Lane, and in Throgmorton Street, my fellow-can- 
didate and I had great receptions ; and at the City Carlton 
Club, of which I had been a member for thirty years, and 
nearly the whole time a member of the Committee, my 
old friends gave me splendid support. 

There was one incident of the contest which in view of 
what happened afterwards I think it well to recall. On the 
Tuesday after the nomination The Times contained a letter 
by the Duke of Devonshire to Mr. Schuster, in which he 
said : 

I have no hesitation in wishing you success in the contest 
in which as a Free Trader you are engaged against the 
supporters of the policy of the Tariff Reform League. 

igo6] A GREAT VICTORY 377 

I saw it, and I resolved that there should be no misunder- 
standing as to my opinions, and at once wrote a reply for 
publication, in which I said : 

You say I am a supporter of the policy of the Tariff 
Reform League. That is not the fact. I am not a member 
of the Tariff Reform League, and have not accepted its 
programme. ... I am strongly opposed to any taxation of 
food or raw material unless absolutely necessary for the 
purpose of raising revenue. 

As the day of polling drew near, the enthusiasm of our 
friends increased, and the only question was by how many 
thousands of votes we should defeat our opponents. I 
was very anxious that the polling should be fixed for the 
Saturday, the first day on which any poll could take place ; 
and our friends bitterly regretted afterwards that they did 
not take my advice. They urged that the voters on our 
side, sure of success, would not take the trouble to come 
to town on a Saturday, and so our majority would be re- 
duced. I said that the figures of our majority did not so 
much matter ; we were sure of winning by thousands, and 
the effect of a victory like that in the greatest constituency 
in the kingdom would be felt everywhere. The City of 
London should be the first to speak, and her voice might 
set the note for the whole country. I was overruled, and 
the poll was fixed for Tuesday. Saturday night brought 
the news of Mr. Balfour's defeat at Manchester, the begin- 
ning of the Unionist rout ; and in the disasters that followed 
our triumph in the City of London was little heeded. It 
was indeed a notable triumph. When the numbers were 
declared on Tuesday night they stood as follows : 

Sir Edward Clarke . . 16,019 

Mr. Alban Gibbs . . . 15,619 

Mr. Felix Schuster . . . 5,313 

Sir West Ridgeway . . 5,064 

My majority over the highest Liberal was 10,706. That 
was the crowning day of my political career, the day 


when the ambitious hopes which had been with me for 
fifty years were fulfilled, and more splendidly than I had 
ever imagined to be possible. The city of my birth, where 
I had begun so humbly as the errand boy and helper in my 
father's little shop, the greatest constituency in the world, 
greatest in the combined characteristics of numbers, wealth, 
intelligence, and independence, had chosen me for its fore- 
most representative in Parliament. And it had chosen me, 
not by the mere majority, large as that was, of the votes 
cast at the election. My sixteen thousand votes repre- 
sented 57 per cent, of the possible voters at a City election. 

Can any one wonder that as I left the Guildhall that 
night the highest hopes I had ever formed came back to me 
more strongly than ever ? At last my course seemed clear. 
I had now no need to trouble myself about professional 
work. I had for twenty years earned a very large income ; 
and, although I had spent very freely, I had saved enough 
to secure to me, as I thought, the modest income which 
would suffice to enable me to devote myself to a political 
career. It was true that I was sixty-five years of age, and 
that it was evident that for some years my party would 
be out of office. But it was power and not office that 
attracted me ; and a wisely led opposition, not harassed by 
small responsibilities, framing policies which it may, at any 
moment, be called upon to put in practice, may render 
service to the Empire scarcely less important than those 
of the Ministry itself. 

So I felt very happy and very proud, and began to prepare 
myself for resuming the regular attendance at the House of 
Commons which had in former years given me so much 

On February I3th Parliament was opened ; and my 
colleague and I, in assertion of the traditional privilege of 
the representatives of the City of London, took our seats 
upon the front bench on the Government side of the House. 
To me it was an interesting anniversary. On February isth, 
1880, Southwark had elected me its member. Thirteen 
years passed ; and on February 13th, 1893, I followed Mr. 

1906] A NEW COLLEAGUE 379 

Gladstone in debate when he introduced the second Home 
Rule Bill. Again thirteen years passed ; and now on 
February I3th, 1906, I took my seat as the senior member 
for the greatest constituency. 

Mr. Balfour was not a member of the House, but arrange- 
ments were already being made for his return to lead the 
Unionist party. When our great majority in the City was 
announced, it of course occurred to many that a new election 
in the City might enable him to return to Parliament in a 
way which would to some extent atone for the defeat at 

Alban Gibbs would in due time succeed to a peerage ; 
and his father's age rendered it not improbable that this 
would soon take place. He had not himself been prominent 
in the work of the House of Commons, and was not supposed 
to be very anxious to remain there. 

On the morning of January 23rd I received a letter from 
Balfour asking if I could arrange for an opportunity to be 
given him of making a speech in the City before the opening 
of Parliament. And the same post brought me a letter 
from Lord Salisbury asking if I would be willing to use my 
influence with Alban Gibbs to induce him to vacate his 
seat in order to let Mr. Balfour take it. He was a cousin 
of Alban Gibbs, but could not very well make the proposal 
direct to him, as at a recent by-election in Hertford he 
had refused to support Vicary Gibbs, who had lost his seat 
in consequence. I promised to do all I could, and suggested 
that Akers-Douglas, who was our Chief Whip and an old 
personal friend of Gibbs, might usefully make the suggestion. 
This answer was telephoned to Hatfield. I do not know 
if it was found necessary for Akers-Douglas to intervene, 
but on the 25th Lord Salisbury wrote to tell me that a 
very satisfactory letter had been received from Gibbs, and 
that the matter was arranged. 

Balfour was to make his speech at the dinner to Gibbs 
and myself at the Merchant-Taylors' Hall on February i2th ; 
Alban Gibbs was to take his seat in the House on the I3th, 
and then immediately apply for the Chiltern Hundreds, 


and the new election in the City was to take place as soon 
as possible. 

Just before the Merchant-Taylors' Hall dinner a curious 
little incident occurred. Sir David Evans came to me, 
and in a mysterious way said that he had been asked to 
suggest to me that it would be well if I did not speak of 
Mr. Balfour as my leader, and indeed did not mention the 
leadership of the party at all. I need hardly say that 
the effect of the suggestion was that I did very definitely 
and very strongly declare my allegiance to Mr. Balfour. 

Mr. Gibbs promptly vacated the seat, and I went round 
with the new candidate to the few meetings it was thought 
necessary to arrange. I spoke at those meetings, and I 
issued a special address to the large number of voters in the 
Temple begging for their renewed support. On the polling 
day, February 27th, Mr. Balfour was unwell and could not 
appear, and I drove about with Miss Balfour and attended 
the counting of the votes, and afterwards made the 
speech of thanks to the electors. And of course I 
walked up to the table with my new colleague when he 
took his seat. 

For a time our relations were most cordial. He invited 
me to sit on the front bench, a privilege to which I was not 
entitled, as I had not been a member of the late Government ; 
and it was at his request that on March 7th I spoke for the 
Opposition in a debate upon a motion for the payment of 
members. He was then controlling the arrangements for 
debate, although Mr. Chamberlain as his substitute led the 
party in the House until Mr. Balfour took his seat on 
March I2th. 

Between the date of his defeat at Manchester and his 
return to the House as member for the City a severe struggle 
had been going on between him and Mr. Chamberlain as 
to the position which the Unionist party should adopt with 
respect to Tariff Reform. Of the 157 Unionists who now 
had to face a majority of three times their number more 
than two-thirds were ready to accept the entire scheme of 
the Tariff Reform League, and unless some terms of agree- 


ment could be found it was clear that Mr. Balfour's leader- 
ship of the party would be impossible. 

He met Mr. Chamberlain at dinner on February 2nd, but 
no agreement was reached. On the 8th Mr. Chamberlain 
published a long letter, in which he said that his friends 
were prepared to accept Mr. Balfour's general leadership, 
but asked for a declaration that Tariff Reform should not 
be dropped. On February i2th, at the dinner given to 
congratulate Mr. Gibbs and myself on our election, Mr. 
Balfour said that the general tariff and the question of a 
small duty on food were questions of expediency and not 
of principle. He did not admit their necessity, or reject 
them as in all cases inadmissible. The next day a prolonged 
conference took place. Mr. Balfour and Mr. Gerald Balfour 
and Mr. Chamberlain and Mr. Austen Chamberlain, with 
the assistance of Mr. Akers-Douglas, met to arrange the 
terms of settlement. The afternoon meeting brought no 
agreement, and the negotiations came near to being broken 
off ; but the five met again in the evening, and eventually 
a formula was arrived at. The next morning a letter from 
Mr. Balfour was published in which he stated that Fiscal 
Reform was and must remain the first constructive work 
of the Unionist party, and admitted that a moderate 
general tariff and a small duty on foreign corn were not 
objectionable in principle. Mr. Chamberlain replied cor- 
dially accepting the surrender, and for a time the difficulty 
was got over. 

But the supporters of the Government were, of course, 
anxious to manifest by a debate and a division the com- 
pleteness of their triumph in the constituencies over the 
Tariff Reformers, and as no opposition amendment to the 
Address had raised the fiscal question Sir James Kitson 
gave notice of the following motion, and was promised a 
day for its discussion " That this House, recognising that 
in the recent General Election the people of the United 
Kingdom have demonstrated their uncompromising fidelity 
to the principle and practice of Free Trade, deems it right 
to record its determination to resist any proposals, whether 


by way of taxation upon foreign corn, or by the creation 
of a general tariff upon foreign goods, to create in this 
country a system of protection/' 

Notice was given of an official opposition amendment to 
this, to be moved by Mr. Stuart-Wortley, to omit the words 
from " recognising " to " Free Trade," thus making the 
motion only a declaration of intention on the part of the 
present House of Commons. 

As the day drew near it became incumbent on those who 
refused to support Mr. Chamberlain's programme to consult 
as to their action, and a meeting was held in one of the 
committee-rooms, at which Mr. W. F. D. Smith presided 
over a gathering of about forty members. It was an inter- 
esting assembly. The son of the former leader of the House 
of Commons was in the chair, and with him were Mr. Hicks- 
Beach, the son of the former Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
and Mr. Lionel Walrond, the son of the late chief Conserva- 
tive Whip. Sir John Kennaway, Sir Francis Powell, Mr. 
Percy Thornton, and Mr. Abel Smith were four of the 
oldest and most respected members of the House. Sir 
William Anson and Mr. J. G. Talbot represented Oxford 
University, and Sir Philip Magnus the newer University of 
London. The Devonshire influence was represented by 
Mr. Victor Cavendish, and the Salisbury influence by Lord 
Robert Cecil, and the Durham influence by Mr. Lambton. 

Mr. Rothschild and Sir Edward Sassoon, Sir Seymour 
King and Mr. Mildmay, coming from constituencies of 
widely differing character, were all opponents of the new 
Protectionist policy. 

More than one meeting took place, and the question 
of concerted action was fully discussed. Eventually it 
was decided that no definite pledges should be given, but 
that the course recommended was to vote for Mr. Stuart- 
Wortley's amendment, and if that were defeated and Sir 
James Kit son's resolution became the main question to 
abstain from voting in either lobby. 

On March I2th Mr. Balfour took his seat as member for 
the City of London, and Sir James Kitson's motion having 


been moved and seconded, he rose to make his first speech 
as Unionist leader in the new Parliament. It was a pitiful 
performance. Instead of discussing the large questions 
raised by the resolution, he described it as a vote of censure 
on the Opposition, and then proceeded to criticise its terms, 
and put five interrogatories to the Government, one being 
whether the Indian tariff was or was not Protectionist, 
and another being why the words " or otherwise " were in 
the resolution when first put on the paper and were not in 
the resolution as moved. As he went on refining, and 
distinguishing, and inquiring, the cheers on his own side 
gradually grew fainter, and when he sat down no Minister 
lose to reply. A little later Mr. Chamberlain, with well- 
simulated indignation, attacked the Government for making 
no answer to the questions asked, and then dexterously 
deprived himself of the opportunity of dealing with main 
issues by moving, what he of course knew would be nega- 
tived, the adjournment of the debate. The design was 
to secure a division in which no Unionist would have any 
excuse for abstention, and this result was obtained when the 
division was taken on Mr. Stuart- Wortley's amendment. 

That small advantage was dearly purchased, for it had 
given the Prime Minister the opportunity of administering 
to Mr. Balfour, amid the delighted cheers of his followers, 
a well -deserved castigation. Sir Henry Campbell-Banner- 
man's closing sentences are worth preserving. 

He says that we are to stop the proceedings in this debate, 
and his amendments are not to be moved until we have 
answered these terrible questions. In so far as I have 
referred to them, I may have answered them incidentally. 
I have no direct answer to give to them. They are utterly 
futile, nonsensical, and misleading. They were invented 
by the right hon. gentleman for the purpose of occupying 
time in this debate. I say, enough of this foolery. It 
might have answered very well in the last Parliament, but 
it is altogether out of place in this Parliament. The tone 
and temper of this Parliament will not permit it. Move 
your amendments and let us get to business. 


The motion to adjourn was rejected by 405 to 115. When 
the debate was resumed at the evening sitting (for at that 
time the House used to adjourn from half-past seven to 
nine), I told Mr. Balfour that I wished to speak in the course 
of the debate in order to maintain in the House the opinions 
I had expressed outside, and that as they did not accord 
with the policy now accepted by him and Mr. Chamberlain 
I thought I had better not come to the official box, but 
speak from a place further along the bench and near the 
Speaker's chair. That proposal he at once negatived, and 
said he wished me to speak from the usual place. Then he 
asked when I would like to speak. I told him I was quite 
indifferent as to this, and would suit his convenience. 

" Then," said he, " as Lloyd George is to speak at ten 
o'clock and the House will sit late, do you mind following 

" Perhaps," he added, " as I am rather tired, you will 
not mind my not staying to hear you." This arranged, I 
saw Mr. Chamberlain, and had ten minutes' conversation 
with him in the corridor. He was quite friendly. I told 
him the sort of speech I was going to make, and he made 
no remark, as I expected he would, with regard to such 
a speech being delivered from our front bench. He also 
was away from the House when I spoke. About eleven 
o'clock I rose to make my speech. It was listened to 
respectfully on our side, and of course more sympathetically 
by our opponents. I trust that many of those who read 
this book will take the trouble also to read the speech, 
which is reprinted in my Selected Speeches. But for others 
I wish to quote here the closing passages. I did not know 
what would happen, but I think I had a premonition that 
it would be my last speech in the House of Commons. I 
quoted the declaration of Mr. Disraeli and Lord Derby in 
1852, and then I said : 

These are not obsolete shibboleths or discredited declara- 
tions. They are the declarations of the leaders of the 
Tory party which have been acted upon during the past 


half-century by the leaders of the party. For fifty years 
they have represented the unquestioned creed of the Tory 
party. Through the thirty years of Mr. Disraeli's leader- 
ship in our councils, through the fifteen years of Lord 
Salisbury, through the ten years of my right hon. friend, 
they have been the creed of our party, and I stand firm to 
that creed to-day. The cry of the big and the little loaf 
had almost died out in the country. It had for years 
been scarcely heard, except in some country constituency 
where probably the name of the candidate revived old 
antagonisms. Now that ill-omened spectre has been 
summoned from its grave, and I believe that a generation 
may pass before it will be laid to rest again. At any rate, 
there are some of us who will stand firm in the creed which 
has for so long been the creed of the Tory party, and will 
resist now, and at any time, any proposal to put a tax 
on the corn or meat of the people, unless, indeed, in cir- 
cumstances of so terrible a national necessity that we are 
compelled to sacrifices of the bitterest and deepest kind. 
But as a matter of administration and taxation, there are 
a good many of us who will never be parties to its intro- 
duction into our financial system. I hope it is almost 
hoping against hope, but I do still hope there may be found 
amongst those who have served in the ranks of the Tory 
party for many years past many who respect the decision 
that has been come to by their greatest leaders, and are 
prepared to stand by the policy which seemed to them good 
for the country. I do hope that the Tory party will regain 
its influence, for I believe its principles are an important 
and even essential part of our national life. And I trust 
our leaders will recognise that when we are anxious to extend 
the area of our trade and gain for ourselves imperial renown, 
we must never forget that the first duty of a statesman is 
to the poorest of the people, and that to every statesman 
worthy of the name the welfare of the people is the highest 
law. 1 

The course of events on the I3th was curious, and I think 
it must have been arranged. A division was taken on Stuart- 
Wortley's proposal to omit certain words. The numbers 
were 445 to 118. Then another amendment was proposed ; 

* Selected Speeches, p. 26. 


but as soon as the mover sat down, and before it had been 
put from the chair, Campbell-Banner man moved " that the 
question be now put." Against the closure all Unionists 
could vote, and the numbers were 471 to 123. Sir J . Kitson's 
motion was then put from the chair. 

I was sitting on the front bench next to Sir Alexander 
Acland-Hood, who told me he was not going to tell against 
the motion. The bells were ringing for the division, and he 
had scarcely told me this when Austen Chamberlain, looking 
very angry, came from his place to Acland-Hood and said, 
" What is this I hear, that you are not going to tell ? " 
" No," said Acland-Hood, " we are not going to Forster and 
I must stand by what we told our constituents." " Well," 
said Austen Chamberlain, " I do not see how you can expect 
us to come down night after night and give you respectable 
divisions, if we are to be treated like this. Where's Arthur ? " 
" In his room." " Is not he going to vote ? " "I don't 
know." Austen Chamberlain hurried off to find him, and 
before the question was put the second time came back 
smiling, and said triumphantly to Acland-Hood, " You are 
to tell. He says he wishes it." " Well," said I to Acland- 
Hood, " what are you going to do ? " " Oh," said he, " he 
is my leader, and if he tells me to do it I must, but ten minutes 
ago. I believed he was not going to vote himself." This 
choice of Whips determined a substantial number of votes. 
Akers-Douglas came in. Said I, " What will you do ? " 
" Oh, I cannot desert my leader." 

Of those who had been present at Mr. W. F. D. Smith's 
meeting in the committee-room the large majority, and I 
among them, refrained from voting. Six stalwart Unionist 
Free Traders voted with the Government. They were Mr. 
Percy Thornton, Lord Robert Cecil, Sir Seymour King, 
Mr. Lambton, Mr. Walter Rothschild, and Mr. Gibson 

Nield and others fell into line, but 25 of those who had 
voted in the former division now abstained or voted for 
the motion, and only 98 went into the Opposition Lobby, 
while the majority numbered 474. 

1906] MY HEALTH FAILS 387 

Directly the division lists came out the Tariff Reformers, 
furious at the bad division, set out to drive me from Parlia- 
ment. The men who had previously tried and failed to 
prevent my selection for the City now joined in the outcry 
against me. Some of my friends stood firm. Sir William 
Treloar, who was the next alderman in rotation for the 
Lord Mayoralty of the City of London, wrote letters to The 
Times in my defence, and when he was attacked for it in 
the Court of Aldermen he said he would resign his gown 
rather than give up his right to defend a friend who was 
being maligned. But Sir David Evans, who had undertaken 
to be one of the vice-chairmen of my committee if the Tariff 
Reform League prevented my selection by the Conservative 
Association, took a different line. Others whom I had 
believed to be my friends fell away, especially Sir John 
Puleston, and greatly through his action a resolution was 
passed calling upon me to explain my conduct. At this 
moment my health suddenly gave way, and for a week or 
two 1 was lying ill at Thorncote. Sir Douglas Powell was 
called in, and he promptly ordered a six months' voyage, 
and entire abstinence from political work or study of any 
kind. I would not consent to the six months, but at the 
end of March, as soon as I was able to leave my room, I 
went off with Lady Clarke and my son William to Cairo. 
It was not a very fortunate trip. I soon became stronger ; 
but we had an exceptionally stormy voyage out. When I 
got to Cairo I found the homeward stream had begun, and, 
unless I left quickly, we should have a difficulty in securing 
a comfortable passage (while I was eager to get back), 
and breaking our journey at Algeciras, where we meant to 
stay a few days, Lady Clarke was attacked with severe 
tonsilitis, and we were kept there a fortnight. 

When I got back in May I found the situation had not 
improved. So far indeed as the City was concerned I was 
not seriously uneasy. I have no doubt that the meeting 
which I had promised to address would have been a very 
stormy one, but I have equally no doubt that I should have 
held my own ; and of course I should not have accepted 


from the majority of a meeting of an association of a few 
hundred persons my dismissal from a position which had 
been given me by over 16,000 electors. 

And an incident which greatly disturbed my opponents 
showed how little they represented the general feeling in 
the City. A meeting was announced to be held at the 
Cannon Street Hotel against the Government Education 
Bill. Sir John Puleston was to take the chair and Mr. 
Balfour was announced to speak. No request to do so had 
been sent to me, nor any invitation to the meeting itself. 
But at the time appointed I presented myself at the 
hall, went to the committee-room, and was then asked to 
second the resolution which Mr. Balfour was to move. I 
had an excellent reception, and was cheered by the crowd 
as I left the hotel. 

But at that meeting Mr. Balfour's behaviour to me was 
very cold and unfriendly. He did not shake hands with 
me ; indeed, he had not done so since my return from Cairo. 
If he had desired to retain me as a colleague, a word 
from him would have stopped all trouble in the City. But 
he not only refused (as I have since learned) to interfere 
in the matter, but he declined to express an opinion when 
appealed to by the City people, and his silence was under- 
stood, as I have no doubt he meant it to be understood, 
as showing a desire to get rid of me from the House of 
Commons. When I came to know this, the situation of 
course was entirely changed. 

I should have been quite content to remain in Parlia- 
ment and to work with all my strength for the Unionist 
cause. The fact that the fight would be a hard one, that 
it would involve the sacrifice of a leisure I had greatly 
enjoyed, and that I should be spending the later years of 
life in striving to secure for my party a triumph which I 
certainly should be too old to share, would not have de- 
terred me from throwing myself into the conflict if I had 
still been accepted by my leader as one of his trusted 
lieutenants. But it seemed clear to me that if I remained 
in the House I must change my seat. I could not submit 

1906] I RESIGN MY SEAT 389 

to have my presence on the front bench, to which Mr. 
Balfour had himself invited me, now simply tolerated by 
an unfriendly leader ; and my hope of rendering real service 
to the Tory cause was obviously at an end. At the same 
time my health was by no means satisfactory. For the 
first time in my life I suffered from want of sleep, and 
Sir Douglas Powell and Dr. Ferrier both told me that 1 
must give up either my profession or my political work, 
as to continue both would involve the risk of complete 
breakdown, either physical or mental. Sir Douglas Powell 
told me this by letter on May 28th, and two days later the 
opinion was confirmed by Dr. Ferrier in the strongest terms. 
I came to an immediate decision. I wrote to Balfour the 
following letter, and took it down to the House of Commons. 


May 30th, igo6l 


I think that as my colleague and my leader you 
ought to have the first intimation of my intention to apply 
for the Chiltern Hundreds. 

I am acting under the strongest medical advice, so I 
need not say anything as to other reasons which you might 
or might not think sufficient. 

If I could ignore the question of health, I should certainly 
not consider them adequate to justify so serious a step. 
But I have no right to ignore that question, and it compels 
me to this decision. 

Yours very faithfully, 


Then I went to the Whips' room and saw Sir Alexander 
Acland-Hood and Mr. J. S. Sandars, and told them my 
resolve, at the same time giving Sir Alexander my letter 
to the Chancellor of the Exchequer asking for the Chiltern 
Hundreds, signed but not dated, and authorised him to 
send it on as soon as he found it convenient, promising 
to say nothing of my decision until I saw in the papers the 
announcement of the vacancy. 


Then I went off at once to Jersey to spend a few quiet 
days with my daughter and grandchildren. 
I received the following telegram : 

WEST STRAND, 8.52 p.m., May 30^, 1906. 

This is only to say I have received your letter. Am 
just leaving for Versailles, from where I will write to you. 

The promised letter was never written. I think my old 
leader might have shown a little more courtesy to one who 
had been his friend for more than a quarter of a century, 
and had just taken no small part in obtaining for him the 
seat for the City of London ; but he was then in great 
difficulties himself in presence of the masterful and threat- 
ening companionship of Mr. Chamberlain, and of course 
he could not foresee how soon he would be relieved from 
that formidable rival. 



(Written in bed, in Shorthand) 

March 1906. 

SIR RICHARD, of the grave kind eyes and quiet thoughtful 
voice, has just closed the door and left me with the assur- 
ance that there is really nothing wrong, only extreme 
fatigue, and that I have only to rest myself well again. 
News and correspondence are of course forbidden, and I 
am to keep my mind as clear as possible of the worries 
of politics and law. Well, I think I can obey the instruc- 
tions ; and rest, simple, untroubled, seems to me the 
pleasantest of prescriptions. So I lie back and close my 
eyes, and think I will obey. Alas, it is not quite easy. 
Thought will not stop where I put it, and whatever subject 
I choose to start with, it seems that all roads lead to the 
same end. I start by thinking of my very early boyhood, 
just before I went to a country school. And in a flash, 
memory has run down the long chain of incident : school, 
prizes, evening classes, examinations, studentship, call to 
the Bar, taking silk, all the rest of it : and there I am at 
the House of Commons of last week. This will never do, 
I will try again. This time I will think of a case full of 
romance, tried long years ago, and almost all forgotten. 
But I have scarcely brought the scene to my memory 
when the scene-shifters are busy at work, and here am I 
before Mr. Justice Farwell, cross-examining Sir Alexander 
Binnie as I was last Saturday, about the effect of fatigue in 
metal so that a very small jar will bring the breaking 
strain. I did not expect when I was asking the questions 
(though the thought did cross my mind) that there was 



some fatigue of metal about me, and that I should not be 
able to finish the case. No, this will never do. I have 
not energy enough to make a fresh start, so I open my 
eyes to see if I shall find distraction for my thoughts in 
all my pleasant surroundings, in the prettiest room I ever 
saw. That is just what this bedroom is. It is late March 
afternoon, fine and bright, and as I lie I can see through 
the window the silver stream, flashing like a sheet of 
diamonds, on its way to Penton Hook : and beyond it a 
tender brown haze with just a faint tint of green softens 
the outline of St. Anne's Hill. On the table beside me 
bowls of fresh violets surround a tall cluster of noble daffodils, 
and the air is filled with the scents of spring. Then the 
room itself. The cool soft afternoon light is round me 
like a flood. It lights up the rich crimson of the walls, 
the pale olive green of the curtains, repeated in the eider- 
down quilt at my feet and the curtains at my head, which 
are lined with a pale pink, which is again echoed in the 
shades of the electric lamps. And in this harmony of 
colour the white enamel of the furniture wardrobe, over- 
mantel, and the rest takes its natural part. There is no 
need now to force the direction of my thoughts. This 
room has been in the making for fifteen years, and there 
is scarcely a picture or an ornament in it which does not 
carry my memory off to some pleasant incident of the past. 
Let me delight in the treasures for a time, treasures all, 
for the happy days which they recall, though some are of 
very trifling value measured in terms of money. There 
on my right hand hangs " The Mother's Picture/' which 
should be found in some form of engraving or of colour 
in the chief bedroom of every home which God has blessed 
with children. How little did the young Raphael know, 
when a lovely face before him and a barrel-top at hand 
led him to pour out his genius in these forms, that he was 
giving to the world a message which centuries could not 
silence ! I never look at that engraving now without 
recalling the words of the poor woman who saw it for the 
first time at the Bethnal Green Museum " Ah, she could 

1906] PICTURES 393 

not help being a good woman with a baby like that." There 
on the left of the overmantel (I shall come back to this 
overmantel presently) is a brilliant proof of an Assumption 
by Murillo. I say an Assumption, for I cannot at the 
moment recall which of his great pictures it is. I think 
it is one of those two which hang nearly together on the 
right-hand wall as you go up the long gallery at Madrid. 
It is the perfection of beauty in light a,nd shade. As I 
lie here I cannot see the outline with any distinctness, but 
I see the glory of the light on the face of the Madonna, 
and the luminous haze of angel faces round her. There is 
nothing finer of Murillo, I should think in the world, except 
that altar-piece of St. Antony of Padua which lines the 
wall of the south-east chapel at the Cathedral of Seville, 
and which, if you see it just at the right hour of the morning, 
blazes upon you with more than the glory of an Assumption, 
for the centre of the light is not the blue-robed Madonna, 
but the celestial Child Himself. Further to the left, on 
the wall beyond the window, hangs a copy of the best 
engraving of the greatest picture in the whole world. It 
is Mendel's engraving of the " Sistine Madonna." Here 
Raphael was at his greatest. And he who has not made a 
pilgrimage to Dresden, and sat silent for one half-hour 
before this picture, does not know how painting can excite 
and delight the soul. Until Mendel engraved it the true 
picture was hardly known to those who could not make 
this pilgrimage. Other engravers (you will see it in a 
moment when you set their works by the side of this) give 
but a poor rendering of the face, especially of the eyes of 
the Infant Christ. This is our chief est treasure. Mendel's 
plate, which cost him seven years of labour, and brought 
him 6,000 in payment, was only just finished when the 
artist died. Twenty copies were printed from the copper 
while the engraving was still unfinished, for three of the 
curtain rings had been omitted. Forty more with the rings 
inserted, but only in outline. Then two hundred more, of 
which this is one, and then an electrotype was taken and 
the plate cut across. 


Except for some emblems and photographs not to be 
written about here, these are the only frames before my 
eyes. Stay, there is another, Sharpe's engraving of Carlo 
Dolce' s " Virgin and Child " : a present to my Lady from 
our old friend Dr. Ginsburg, pleasantest of companions, 
who used to travel up to town with me of a morning and 
make the whole day brighter by the half-hour's talk. But 
enough of pictures, though there are one or two more I 
should like to dwell on. I turn to the white overmantel 
with its columns and recesses and shelves, where in the 
centre, and matching the whiteness of the arch above her, 
stands a parian statuette of the finest work of modern 
sculpture, the Gibson Venus, the special glory of the Great 
Exhibition, which ushered in the golden decade of the 
nineteenth century ; but stay, I think I am wrong. I am 
not sure, but I think that Hiram Power's " Greek Slave" 
was the great statue of 1851, and the " Venus " came 
to delight us in 1862. 

Scattered around her among vases and ivories are the 
trifling souvenirs of many days of travel, and these little 
things will amuse me most just now. Close by the white 
" Venus " are two gaily coloured figures which I bought 
in Chinatown at Vancouver, at the quaint little shop next 
to the chief joss-house, and the sight of these carries my 
mind away to the Chinese waiters at the hotel at Laggan, 
and so to the lake in the clouds, and a whole gallery of 
delightful pictures which my memory brought back from 
the journey through the great Dominion. Just below 
stand a group of tiny Spanish bull-fighters and dancers, 
and as I look I am away at the walls of the Alhambra in 
the flood of glory of a late September afternoon. 

Opposite the little shops that nestle in a corner outside 
the walls the old king of the gipsies poses for the inevitable 
snapshot, while the guide tells stories of his terribly wicked 

On a lower shelf are climbing monkeys and a wide- 
mouthed frog of very common clay, which were bought 
from the market boat which attacks the P. & O. steamer 

1906] MEMORIES 395 

as she comes to her moorings at Gibraltar. I hope that 
in ten days' time I shall see that boat again. And behind 
them are two of the cheap ikons, unframed pictures on 
wood, which recall St. Isaac, the Kazan, and the noble 
pile of St. Sophia. I cannot remember at which these were 
bought, but I know as my Lady and I were standing at 
the long counter inside St. Sophia where the candles and 
ikons and books are sold, there came along two poor dirty 
labouring men with the unsmiling face of the Russian 
peasant, who looked so longingly at the little pictures they 
were too poor to buy that my Lady picked up two of the 
ikons (quite simple pictures, costing only some ten or twenty 
kopecks each), had them wrapped in paper, and gave them 
to the men. They did not smile, I doubt if they could, but 
their look of gratitude as they crept away with their 
treasures has been a pleasure to us for seven years. There 
are other trifles recalling other scenes the model of the 
Savoyard, for instance, the great bell of the newest (except 
the new cathedral at Berlin) and one of the most interesting 
of the great churches of Christian Europe. But I have 
seen enough, and though I do not go to sleep I close my 
eyes and a dreamy panorama seems to pass before me. 

The soldiers as they swagger down the Nevsky Prospekt ; 
the orange-sellers chattering round the gate of the Alcazar ; 
the lumber rafts rushing down the chute at Ottawa ; the 
students swaying over the Koran at the University Mosque 
at Cairo ; the sun on the Rose Garden of the Dolomites ; 
the lizard shooting over blinding white walls of Pompeii ; 
all pass before my eyes, and I think I hear the warning 
shout as the gondola comes swinging round the sharp corner 
of the Grand Canal. 

I lie in quiet contentment ; very weak, but thankful for 
this luxury of beauty and pleasant memories, full of grati- 
tude for all the earthly blessings which have been showered 
upon me. The best of all is close at hand. 

The door is gently opened and a sweet voice says, " Well, 
dearest, do I seem to have been a long time away ? " 



THE circumstances attending my election for the City of 
London and my subsequent resignation had tried me a 
good deal, and I think I should at once have left England 
for a prolonged absence, if it had not been for some special 
duties which fell upon me in this busy year. It was my 
year of office as Treasurer of Lincoln's Inn. In the ordinary 
course of succession by seniority Lord Alverstone would 
have served the office in 1904, and I in 1905. But in the 
former year the Prince of Wales (now our gracious Sovereign) 
honoured the Inn by accepting the Treasurership, and with 
great courtesy and dignity discharged its duties. These 
now required me to be as constantly as I could in attendance 
at the Inn. But there was another set of duties which had 
for two years made very large demands on my time and 
thought, and which were now approaching their com- 
pletion. These were connected with the Royal Commission 
on Ecclesiastical Discipline which was appointed in April 
1904 " to inquire into the alleged prevalence of breaches 
or neglect of the law relating to the conduct of Divine 
Service in the Church of England and to the ornaments 
and fittings of churches, and to consider the existing powers 
and procedure applicable to such irregularities and to make 
such recommendations as may be deemed requisite for 
dealing with these matters." It will be convenient that 
I should here deal with some fullness with that which is 
an essential part of the story of my life, but has not been 
referred to in earlier chapters. I had for many years 
been strongly interested and constantly active in the 



discussion of church questions. My earliest political 
speeches were made in resistance to the disestablishment 
and disendowment of the Church in Ireland ; I was one 
of the original members of the council of the Church Defence 
Institution, which had very important influence in political 
affairs during the later decades of the last century, and I 
frequently spoke at large public meetings upon the subject 
of religious education. I was always a strong churchman ; 
but I never allied myself with either of the two extreme 
parties in the Church itself. As I said in November 1903 
in a speech I made at the Pavilion, Bright on, '^at the begin- 
ning of my candidature for that borough : 

I am a churchman, and I decline to accept any adjective 
in front of that word " churchman " which would limit me 
or describe me as belonging to any one party in the Church, 
but the Church I 'belong to is a Protestant Church. His- 
torically, constitutionally, and doctrinally, the Church of 
England is a Protestant Church. Its Protestantism is the 
only explanation, and the only justification, of its now being 
severed from the body of the Western Church, and I am 
very anxious that the law of our Church shall be capable 
of enforcement. 

It has been my experience, and one not unusual with 
men who desire to stand firm by central principles, that I 
have been attacked alternately by both the extreme parties. 

I do not know how I had given offence to the English 
Church Union at the time I was standing for Southwark 
in 1880, but the secretary of that body has claimed to have 
been instrumental in procuring my defeat at the second 
election there. In 1884 my speech and vote in support 
of the Bill for permitting marriage with a deceased wife's 
sister, in spite of a warning addressed to me by my High- 
Church constituents, turned some of my supporters into 
opponents whose influence was felt in the troubles which 
occurred there fifteen years later. The next attack came 
from the other side. There was a little Orange Society at 
Plymouth, and when I built St. Peter's Church, and set 


on the front of the tower, according to old and goodly 
custom, the figures carved in stone of St. Peter, St. Andrew, 
and St. John, they passed a resolution accusing me of 
having set up a mass-house on the banks of the Thames, 
adorned with graven images. That was easily dealt with. 
I invited them to send their representatives to inspect the 
church, and promised that if they found anything that 
was illegal either in the structure or the services I would 
pay the expenses of the deputation. I think they made 
inquiries in London, and I heard nothing more of them. 

In 1899 the increase of illegal practices in certain 
dioceses, and especially in the diocese of London, led to 
drastic proposals in the House of Commons which in default 
of any action by the Bishops I declared my intention to 
support. Then came memorable debates in both Houses. 
In February of that year the Archbishop of Canterbury 
(Temple), whose reputation for straightforwardness and 
firmness gave his words great influence on the public mind, 
made a declaration in the House of Lords in the name of 
the whole of the episcopal body. 

He said : 

Although we are all quite determined that we shall 
bring the ritual of the Church of England within its proper 
lawful limits, we appeal to the laity generally to give us 
time to go into the matter, and not to expect that, because 
there has been this agitation, in the course of two or three 
months the whole thing will be altogether changed. We 
cannot do it in the time. 

Two months later a debate took place in the House of 
Commons, and a resolution intended to assist in the work 
of correction was passed without a division " That this 
House deplores the spirit of lawlessness shown by certain 
members of the Church of England, and confidently hopes 
that the Ministers of the Crown will not recommend any 
clergyman for ecclesiastical preferment unless they are 
satisfied that he will loyally obey the Bishops and the Prayer 
Book, and the law as declared by the courts which have juris- 
diction in matters ecclesiastical." 


When the motion was put to the House, Mr. Balfour, 
under pressure from a little group of High- Churchmen, 
wished to omit the last fourteen words. I and others 
protested, and he gave way. They were retained in the 
resolution by 200 to 14 ; I being one of the tellers for the 

I believe that for some years this resolution was acted 
upon, and an undertaking of obedience to the law was 
required from a cleric before he was appointed to a Crown 
living. I have much doubt whether in some more recent 
years this important and mandatory resolution passed 
unanimously by the House of Commons, and accepted and 
supported by the Government of the day, has not been 
wholly ignored. 

A month later the Church Discipline Bill came before 
the House, and the Government only prevented its being 
read a second time by an amendment proposed by the 
Attorney-General, Sir Richard Webster (afterwards Lord 
Alver stone), declaring 

That this House, while not prepared to accept a measure 
which creates fresh offences and ignores the authority of 
the Bishops in maintaining the discipline of the Church, 
is of opinion that, if the efforts now being made by the 
Archbishops and Bishops to secure the due obedience of 
the clergy are not speedily effectual, further legislation 
will be required to maintain the observance of the existing 
laws of Church and State. 

The years passed on ; a new Archbishop promised 
" stern and drastic action " ; nothing was done ; and then 
in 1904 the Royal Commission was appointed. 

On October nth, 1899, in the very midst of my troubles 
at Plymouth, I spoke at the Albert Hall to the largest 
meeting I have ever addressed. It was the mass meeting 
of men of the Church Congress. My topic was " The 
Church and its Work." I felt that it was an exceptional 
opportunity, and I gave more time and thought to the 
consideration of what I should say than I ever gave to any 


other speech. I made my appeal for a revival within the 

We have heard a great deal I think too much of 
the Catholic revival. Is it not time that there was some- 
thing said of a Christian revival, a revival that would 
awaken us to a sense of our duty, our influence, and our 
capacity, and help us to make the Church of England to 
which we belong a more potent factor in all the moral and 
social movements that affect our country ? l 

These words did not help me in my difficulties at 
Plymouth ; I knew they would offend many people there ; 
but I felt it was my duty to say them. 

I have quoted the words in which at the outset of my 
candidature for Brighton I defined my position upon church 
questions. It seemed curious that after that declaration 
it was from the extreme Low-Church party that opposition 

An elector in the constituency, representing the Church 
Association, wrote to ask me to pledge myself to vote for a 
Bill for the inspection of nunneries. I refused to give any 
such promise. Thereupon the Church Association issued 
a pamphlet attacking me for having as patron allowed an 
exchange of livings which brought to St. Peter's a vicar who 
in the church of his former parish had worn the illegal 
vestments ; and they circulated this pamphlet throughout 
the constituency. As a matter of fact, I had refused to 
permit the exchange until the incoming vicar had given 
me in writing his undertaking, which he faithfully observed 
during the eleven years of his incumbency at Staines, that 
he would loyally obey the law in all the services of the church. 

I may as well mention here that at the election for the 
City of London in 1906 the last circular which the electors 
received was a similar attack upon me by the Church 
Association, which was posted to them at much expense 
on the day before the polling, and of course had no effect at 
all in a constituency which knew me so well. 

1 Selected Speeches, p. 298; Public Speeches, 1890-1900, p. 296, 

1906-14] A ROYAL COMMISSION 401 

In May 1904 the Royal Commission was appointed, and 
Mr. Balfour invited me to serve upon it. 

It was unquestionably a strong commission, and fairly 
represented the different sections of the Church; and it 
addressed itself with great diligence to its appointed task. 
There were 118 sittings, it examined 164 witnesses, and 
sent out inquiries which brought very full information. 
I was a regular attendant at the meetings, and willingly 
(for I was then very hopeful that some good would come 
of our labours) sacrificed a great deal of professional work 
and income. 

We had a misfortune in the death of Lord St. Helier at 
the end of 1904. It was not only that he was a great 
ecclesiastical lawyer, but he had for years been desirous of 
providing a remedy for the disorders into which we were 
commissioned to inquire. Seven years earlier he had 
suggested to me the passing of an Act of two clauses, one 
doing away with the Bishop's power of veto, and substitut- 
ing a judicial veto on vexatious proceedings or the require- 
ment of leave from the Court for their institution, and the 
other substituting deprivation for imprisonment as the 
penalty for contumacious disobedience. (Both these re- 
forms were recommended in our Report.) His place was 
filled by the appointment of Lord Alver stone, who was 
less experienced and less interested in the subject. 

The Report of the commission had been drafted before 
my illness in March 1906, but it was still under consideration 
when I came back to England, and I was present at the 
final meetings. The fact that it was unanimous was chiefly 
owing to the skill of Bishop Paget of Oxford in framing 
sentences which different opinions found themselves able 
to accept ; but upon the main questions referred to the 
commission there was no difference of opinion at all. 

The law was clear and unquestionable. The statement 
of it in the Report was drawn up by Sir Lewis Dibdin, 
Lord Alverstone, and myself, and its correctness has never 
been disputed. It was equally clear that the breaches of 
the law into whose prevalence we were commissioned to 


inquire were widespread and increasing, although we 
were able to close our report with the statement that 

in the large majority of parishes the work of the Church is 
being quietly and diligently performed by clergy who are 
entirely loyal to the principles of the English Reformation 
as expressed in the Book of Common Prayer. 

It was with much satisfaction that I signed the Report, 
for while it contained some suggestions as to legislation 
and the constitution of new courts which I did not think 
very practical, or at all likely to be carried into effect, it 
did very clearly point out the illegalities which were being 
committed ; and its first recommendation was that certain 
practices specified in the Report which were " plainly 
significant of teaching repugnant to the doctrine of the 
Church of England and certainly illegal, should be promptly 
made to cease by the exercise of the authority belonging 
to the Bishops, and, if necessary, by proceedings in the 
Ecclesiastical Courts." And it justified the acceptance of 
evidence from persons who had been employed to observe 
and describe the services complained of in a very weighty 
sentence : 

We must also add that it does not follow that irregu- 
larities in the services in a church should be passed over 
because no habitual worshippers complain. Not only have 
all the parishioners a right to complain who might possibly 
attend if those services were differently conducted, but 
also the nation has a right to expect that in the national 
Church the services shall be conducted according to law. 

It was a great disappointment to me that the time and 
labour spent on this commission were wasted. Indeed it 
would have been better if the commission had never been 
appointed, for, like so many other Royal Commissions, it 
was an instrument of delay, and those whose firm enforce- 
ment of its unanimous recommendations would have done 
much to cure the evils it was appointed to investigate found 
in its report a pretext for inaction. When this became 

1906-14] A TRIP TO SOUTH AFRICA 403 

clear in the year 1910 I wrote some letters to The Times 
upon the subject, and became President of the National 
Church League, hoping through that society, and, with 
the aid of the Laymen's Committee soon afterwards estab- 
lished, to do something to check the spread of the illegal 
practices which, with the tolerance of the Archbishops, 
and even the encouragement of some of the Bishops, are 
gradually effecting the disintegration of the Church of 
England, and gravely endangering her privilege of estab- 
lishment and her enjoyment of her great endowments. 

The Report of the Royal Commission was signed on 
June 2ist, and a few weeks later I went off with my son-in- 
law, Captain Norman Rees-Webbe, for a trip to South 
Africa. I could not have found a better companion, for 
he had served in the war for two years and a half ; with 
his regiment, the Northamptons, during the fighting advance 
to Modder River ; and afterwards with the Army Service 
Corps in convoying supplies in many parts of our 
fields of operation. We were away about two months, 
and every day of our stay in the Colony was full of interest. 
Landing at Cape Town, we were for a few days the guests 
of Dr. Jameson, then Premier of Cape Colony, at Groot 
Schoor, and he asked some of his principal colleagues to 
come and meet us at dinner. Travelling on to Kimberley, 
we saw the battle-fields of Graspan, and Belmont, and 
Magersfontein, and Modder River. At Kimberley we saw 
the diamond floors and the great Siege Alley, and went down 
to the lowest level of the Kimberley Mine, and were at the 
midday explosions at the Wesselton Pit, and visited the 
largest of the native compounds. At Johannesburg Mr. 
Lionel Phillips himself was our guide in the deep levels of 
Robinson Deep ; and here the members of the local Bar 
entertained me to dinner at the Rand Club, J . L. Leonard 
being in the chair. 

At Pretoria, where we stayed at the hotel which was the 
headquarters of General French during the later stages of 
the war, I was again entertained by the Bar ; and here my 
health was proposed by a young barrister, who had been 


a pupil of one of my juniors in the Jameson case, and had 
greatly distinguished himself as a fighter on the Boer side 
in the war. He has since obtained an even wider fame as 
General Smuts. 

On our way down to Durban we stayed at Ladysmith, 
and paid a very interesting visit to the battle-field of Colenso. 
Here is surely the strangest monument ever set up by 
British hands. It marks the spot where, through some 
unexplained accident or incapacity, the Boers were allowed 
to capture and carry off ten British guns. 

A short stay at Ladysmith and another at Pietermaritz- 
burg, and then at Durban we took ship for home. 

Our time on shore was too busy for me to write anything 
except a series of letters to my wife, giving an account of 
our doings, but I made up for this by a good deal of indus- 
trious writing on board ship. 

In the volume which I had bound for her and lettered 
Trip to South Africa: August nth to October i^th, there 
are about two hundred and fifty quarto pages of manu- 
script. Fifty-five of them are my letters to her ; twice 
that number contain the first draft of the early chapters 
of this book. During our time at sea I read every evening 
some chapters of the Pentateuch, and made careful notes, 
and these notes, copied out the following morning, fill 
fifty-seven pages. Then there are about a dozen pages of 
scraps, and quotations, and comments upon books. It 
was a pretty good output for a few weeks ; and the discip- 
line of forcing the mind to activity upon subjects as far 
removed as possible from the troubles of the early part of 
the year was very useful. I came home with my physical 
health and mental energy completely restored. 

I determined then that henceforth I would always have 
on hand some definite piece of literary work which would 
fill my leisure thoughts with interest, and protect me from 
the danger of listless idleness. 

So I very soon set to work at my book on shorthand. I 
procured many books, and studied many systems, and 
spent much time in comparing them, and before the end 


of 1907 I published my system of Easy Shorthand. It was 
at once successful; four editions of ten thousand copies 
each were issued, and I am frequently hearing from distant 
parts of the world of its adoption and usefulness. But my 
new system of shorthand, like any other invention, needs 
to be taken up by a publisher or some great educational 
establishment, and worked on commercial lines, in order 
to be fully successful. I believe that mine will gradually 
make its way. At all events, it cannot be bought up and 
extinguished, as happened to a useful system which 
promised to be very successful a good many years ago. 

In the course of my studies of the history of shorthand 
I became much interested in a statement made in the 
Biographia Britannica of a " Lineal Alphabet or Character 
of Dashes" which is said to have been used by one Top- 
cliff e, wherein " every letter was expressed by a single 
straight stroke, only in different postures and places." And 
this interest was of course deepened by examining the only 
alphabet which answers his description, which is in the 
handwriting of Charles I, and signed and sealed by him, 
and was enclosed in a letter which he wrote from Oxford, 
to the Marquis of Worcester on April 5th, 1646 (British 
Museum, Harl. 6988, 121). 

This alphabet has obvious and serious defects, and I 
could find no other ; so I determined to invent one, and in 
1908 I published Swifthand: a New Simple and Rapid 
Method of Writing. 

My practice at the Bar, which had fallen off with extra- 
ordinary rapidity from 1904 to 1907, steadily increased 
during the next four years, and did not give me much 
leisure for other occupations, but early in 1911 I addressed 
myself to a more important task which occupied my spare 
time for over two years. The discussions which arose in 
that year in connection with the Tercentenary of the 
Authorised Version of the Bible showed a general agree- 
ment that there was no satisfactory version of the New 
Testament for use in private reading or in the public services 
of the Church. And an address signed by one hundred of 


the foremost English representatives of theology, scholar- 
ship, and literature was presented to the Archbishop of 
Canterbury, asking for " such an emendation of the 
Authorised Version of the New Testament as shall remove 
all mistakes, whether they are due to mistranslation or 
were the result of the use by King James's translators of a 
Greek text which later research has shown to be faulty." 

My own experience, for since I became a churchwarden 
of St. Peter's in 1902 I have been allowed to read the 
lessons at the Sunday services, had made me keenly sensible 
of the need for such an emendation, and I had made it for 
myself by carefully comparing the Authorised and Revised 
Versions, and adopting the alterations in the latter so far, 
and only so far, as they either corrected material errors in 
the earlier translation, or were required in order to make 
clear the meaning of the sacred writer. This need is most 
strongly felt in the Pauline Epistles, and before the address 
was presented to the Archbishop I had privately printed 
and circulated a version thus prepared of the Epistle to the 
Corinthians. This was so well received that in February 
1912 I published the Epistles of St. Paul (including in the 
book the Epistle to the Hebrews), and in August 1913 the 
complete text of the New Testament. I hear from time 
to time of this book being used, as it may quite lawfully 
and properly be, in the public worship of our churches. 

Of my professional work during the years to which this 
chapter relates there is not much to tell. 

My resignation of the seat for the City of London and 
the circumstances by which it was accompanied made an 
end of all political hopes, while my practice at the Bar 
was rapidly diminishing. This was not strange, for the 
manifold occupations which had fallen upon me in 1906 
were enough to make my presence in court so uncertain 
that clients very wisely sought other representatives. And 
there was a brilliant group of younger men, Rufus Isaacs, 
John Simon, F. E. Smith, and H. E. Duke, any one of whom 
might well be chosen to fill my place. 

I did not entirely give up the hope that I might become 

1906-14] BUSY TO THE LAST 407 

a judge ; I did not quite abandon that until several years 
later, for I remembered how Sir James Bacon was ap- 
pointed Vice-Chancellor at seventy years of age, and lived 
to earn his pension by fifteen years of service. But his 
case was exceptional, and I thought, perhaps mistakenly, 
that I was less likely to get judicial office from the party 
which I had always opposed than from that to which the 
loyal service of many years had been given. However, as I 
have said, my practice soon began to recover, and to the 
end of my half-century it continued to be counted in 
thousands, although they were very few as compared with 
the golden shower of 1902. My rule as to the minimum 
fee was never relaxed. 

No case of very great public importance occurred in 
those years ; but before the Judicial Committee of the Privy 
Council I argued interesting questions sent from India and 
Canada and South Africa. 

The two cases that interested me most were the two 
election petitions in which I appeared after an interval of 
thirty years. 

At Hartlepool in 1910 I was defeated in the attempt to 
defend the seat, to the entire satisfaction of my client and 
his family. Sir Christopher Furness was no longer equal to 
the work of the House of Commons, and the peerage which 
was almost immediately bestowed was by no means unex- 
pected. In the following year I had a very hard fight, and a 
very pleasant victory, at Nottingham ; and it was singularly 
interesting to me that I should be quoting with good effect 
in defence of the Conservative member the judgement which 
I had listened to at Plymouth thirty-oneyears before. 

Perhaps the most curious of my cases during this period 
was an action for slander in which I had three King's Counsel 
as my juniors. They were of the highest rank, and had 
magnificent fees, and were all present during the trial, but 
from the beginning to the end neither of them was called 
upon to say a single word. 

My appointment to the Privy Council in 1908 was very 
gratifying and quite unexpected. I was dining at Lincoln's 


Inn on November 2nd, Lord Macnaghten and Cozens- 
Hardy, the Master of the Rolls, being with me, and we were 
talking about Law Officers, and the cases in which they 
had failed to attain judicial rank, when a note from the 
Prime Minister marked " private " was put into my hands. 
It said, with very pleasant expressions of personal friend- 
ship, that he had the pleasure of proposing to me with 
the King's approval that I should be sworn a member of 
the Privy Council on the occasion of His Majesty's birthday. 

Of course I accepted ; and I confess that the offer gave 
me so much pleasure that the week which elapsed before, 
on the morning of the King' s birthday, the public announce- 
ment was made seemed to me a very long week indeed. 

I had a fine reception when I went to the Guildhall 
banquet that evening, wearing for the last time my black 
velvet court dress, and Asquith told me that my appoint- 
ment was by far the most popular in the day's list. 

I soon had notice to attend at Windsor Castle to be 
sworn in, and the notice said " morning dress." So I 
drove over from Thorncote on the appointed day dressed 
in my usual grey suit. I thought the servants who showed 
me up to the room where we were to wait looked at me 
rather oddly, but the reason did not occur to me. The 
others had not arrived, and I found afterwards they had 
waited for me a few minutes at Paddington, expecting me 
to join the special train which brought the party from 
London. There were five of us to be sworn of the 
Council, and we were rather an odd group. Sir Rennell 
Rodd had been appointed earlier, and for some reason had 
delayed taking the oaths. The four new members were 
Mr. J. A. Pease, Mr. Herbert Samuel, Sir Charles McLaren, 
and myself. Pease, as a Quaker, had to affirm ; Samuel, 
a Jew, had to swear on the Old Testament and with his 
head covered ; so the ceremony was rather a long one. 
Three of us took the oaths in the ordinary way ; then Pease 
affirmed. The only difficulty was with Samuel, but it was 
decorously solved. He had a new hat which he held behind 
his back. Just as he kissed the book he jerked up his hat 



and touched the top of his head with it, while King Edward 
looked another way. We had an excellent lunch after- 
wards, served at three rather large round tables, and I sat 
next a pretty young woman who was a lady-in-waiting 
to one of the princesses. 

I asked her what was the rule of the Court about morning 
dress. " Oh," she said, " it means black frock-coats." I 
asked if every one staying at the Castle was expected to 
come to breakfast in a black frock-coat. " Yes," she said, 
" that was so, although the King never met his guests at 
breakfast." I said, " Do you mean that they put on black 
frock-coats whatever they are going to do afterwards ? " 
" Yes," she said, " it is a strict rule." I think she, like 
the others, was much amused by my breach of etiquette. 
In 1909 I had a heavy financial loss, which at the time 
troubled me a good deal, but has turned out to be of very 
little consequence. Twenty years before a group of London 
solicitors, all men of high position in their profession, and 
all men of great experience and of the highest honour, 
established the Law Guarantee Society. The plan was 
sound, their influence was very great, and the venture 
was immediately successful. Only one-tenth of the sub- 
scribed capital was called up, and upon the money so paid 
10 per cent, interest was regularly paid for nearly twenty 
years. Then whispers got about that things were going 
wrong, and in 1908 Lord Alverstone and I, who were both 
large shareholders, and I think one or two others who could 
be completely trusted, were told that the difficulties were 
serious. The fact was that in 1888-9 the prosperity of the 
country was at its highest level, and the prospects of every 
commercial undertaking appeared to justify courageous 
speculation upon the future. This was especially the case 
with undertakings concerned with the liquor, traffic or with 
public amusements, and unfortunately the larger part of 
the early business of the new society was in lending money 
on mortgage of properties of this description. The directors 
were advised by surveyors of the best repute, who probably 
would have been more careful if they had themselves 


shared the directors' responsibility. These valuations were 
too costly to be repeated periodically, and the result was 
that vast sums were lent on public houses, and breweries, 
and hotels, and theatres, which, when the society foreclosed 
the mortgage and took possession, could not have been 
carried on at a profit, even if the officials had always been 
scrupulously honest. All the directors stood manfully by 
the failing venture, and were themselves among the heaviest 
losers when the crash came and the society failed with 
liabilities of eight millions of money. 

I was a shareholder, and a debenture holder, and had 
subscribed for debentures guaranteed by the society ; and 
I found that the modest income which I thought I had 
secured for my days of retirement was reduced by about 

So I was obliged to leave my pleasant but expensive 
home at Thorncote. It fortunately happened that two or 
three years before my fellow-churchwarden and I had 
jointly purchased a strip of land at the side of the church 
grounds and with a frontage to the towing-path. We 
feared that it might be bought by a speculative builder 
and used for a row of cottages. I now bought out my 
partner in the ownership, and there built a small house 
in a delightful situation, which we have found quite large 
enough for comfort, and which I hope will some day serve 
as a not too expensive vicarage. 

As politics no longer filled my thoughts, and the law 
was making less and less demand upon my time, the third 
great interest of my life came to fill a more important place. 
During all those years of absorbing professional work, years 
spent in learning and forgetting the details of the quarrels 
of others, or of the perpetual conflict between law and 
crime, there had often come to my mind the pathetic 
opening lines of one of Trench's finest sonnets : 

"To leave so many lands unvisited, 
To leave so many glorious books unread." 

I had tried, as the last chapter will have shown, to use to 


the full my opportunities of travel, and I had often hoped 
that " in those may-be years I had to live " some short 
space of quiet time might be granted me to turn back to 
those pleasures of literature which had been the delight 
of my boyhood. The famous passage in which Nicold 
Machiavelli, in the year when his political employments 
ceased, described in a letter to his friend the joys of a library 
often haunted my thoughts. 

But when evening falls I put off my country habit filthy 
with mud and mire, and array myself in royal court garments. 
Thus worthily attired I make my entrance into the ancient 
courts of the men of old, where they receive me with love, 
and where I feed upon that food which only is my own, 
and for which I was born. They, moved by their humanity, 
make answer : for four hours' space I feel no vexation. 
Poverty cannot frighten, nor death appal me. 

My library is richer than that of the famous Florentine, 
for he had only the literature of Italy, in its ancient or its 
modern tongue, while I, subject to limitations of language, 
have all the wealth of the four centuries which have passed 
since he wrote those words. Those limitations are indeed 
sometimes irksome, when I think of the fortunate ones to 
whom the circumstances of their youth have given the 
opportunity of learning to enjoy in their original beauty the 
masterpieces of the great writers of classic times. But I do 
not think of them with any soreness of envy. ^Eschylus, 
Plato, and Virgil are not for me. But I have Shakespeare, 
and Bacon, and Milton, and all their troop of worthy suc- 
cessors, and I feel no need of more. Others may feed in 
a wider pasture, but they have no better food. 

And here I have passed from the labour of life to its 
time of refreshment. 

I am sitting in my library I planned the house, so of 
course it is the largest room sarrounded by my books. 
On the top of the low book-shelves stand a few choice 
bronzes, Voltaire and Rousseau among them, and some 
fine specimens of my favourite Martin-ware. On the walls 


are some proofs of Landseer and Rosa Bonheur, and the 
likenesses of Pitt, and Fox, and Canning, and Wellington, 
and Peel. 

Chief treasures of all are Biscombe Gardner's portrait 
of my great master in politics, as he stood in the House of 
Lords in 1878 and spoke of the Berlin Treaty ; and his 
favourite clock which now stands upon my mantel-shelf. 

I look from the windows over the green turf of the church 
grounds, and across the silver stream, and through the 
thinning autumn leaves see the low outline of the Surrey 

There could be no sweeter surroundings, and I turn back 
to my desk in full contentment to write the closing pages 
of this book. 



EARLY in the year 1914 I had to respond for " The Bar " 
at a city dinner, where many lawyers were present, and, 
tempted into reminiscence and forecast, I noted that I was 
in my fiftieth year of active practice, and that I did not 
intend to continue in legal work after the close of the half- 

At the end of May the first words of public farewell were 
said most appropriately at the Old Bailey, where my earliest 
and my most notable successes had been won. I was now 
appearing for the principal defendant in a very important 
case, and my friend Sir John Simon, who some years bejore 
had held his first brief in a criminal case as my junior 
in the defence of Mrs. Penruddock, was now prosecuting 
as Attorney-General. The judge, Sir Charles Darling, 
between whom and myself 3 there has always been some 
fellowship in literature, as well as in politics and law, said 
very kind things about me, and although I appeared later 
in the civil courts, this was practically the end of my legal 

But there was reserved for me a crowning honour. On 
July I7th, the latest day available before the beginning of 
the Long Vacation, the Bench and Bar entertained me at 
a dinner in Lincoln's Inn Hall, at which two hundred and 
fifty of my brethren in the law assembled to do me honour. 

It was impossible for me look along their ranks without 
pride and emotion. 

Haldane, the Lord Chancellor, was in the chair, and the 
Attorney-General sat upon his left, and shared the duty of 



proposing my health. Twenty-five judges were there, and 
those who had been kept away by circuit duties or ill- 
health sent their regrets and congratulations. Over a 
hundred King's Counsel were at the tables, and wherever 
I looked some faded recollection of legal work came back 
with sudden freshness. It is dangerous to mention names, 
for one knows not where to stop. But some must be 
noted. Next to me on my right sat the Nestor of the Law 
Halsbury in full activity of mind and body, although 
he carried the weight of ninety-one toilsome years. At 
every step of my life in politics and in law he had been my 
companion and my friend. Courtney had known me before 
I was called. Morley's presence I felt as a special honour. 
Rathmore embodied all my pleasantest recollections of the 
House of Commons. Moulton, Reading, Sumner, Finlay, 
Cave, F. E. Smith, Henry Dickens, Balfour Browne, Poland, 
H. E. Duke, brought back memories of forensic conflicts. 
Almost all the judges had at one time or another spoken 
of me as " my learned leader." Thirty-four years had 
passed since I took pupils, but four of my old pupils were 
there to meet me. Both my sons were there, both barristers, 
one of eighteen years' standing, one of eight. And in the 
gallery my daughter and her soldier husband sat with 
Lady Clarke. 

That was the closing scene of my public life. 

But there is something yet to be added. 

Charles Russell said to a friend who asked for infor- 
mation that would help him to write a biography, " Don't 
you think that the best thing I could do would be to write 
my own life from my own point of view ? " That is what I 
have done in this volume. But I do not think the book 
would be complete if I stopped at this sentence. The 
reader who has been interested in this story would like to 
know the thoughts and feelings of the chief actor in the 
drama of life which has been here narrated, as he looked 
back over the incidents of his own career. I expressed 
them frankly in my speech that night, and with the quota- 
tion of that speech I close the record. 

1914] A RETROSPECT 415 

It is very difficult for me to make reply to the speeches 
which have just been delivered, or to thank you for the 
great honour that you are doing to me in this assembly of 
my brethren of the law, who are offering to me an un- 
exampled honour to-night. The most difficult task of all my 
professional life has been reserved for its close it is difficult 
indeed to make response, and perhaps dangerous to try to 
make any. I am here to take your verdict upon my career 
and character, and there has been a curious inversion of the 
ordinary practice of our courts. The Lord Chancellor has 
pronounced judicial and reasoned judgement, and after he 
has given that judgement, the Attorney-General has made 
an eloquent speech for the defence, and now, when these 
are finished and all is over, except the shouting and there 
has been some of that I am called upon to speak for 
myself. But the court is so clearly in my favour that to 
make any reply at all is rather dangerous, as it might 
suggest to the judges that after all there was some reason 
to think that something might be said on the other side. 
But I can, of course, try to answer the matter of these 
very kind and generous speeches. Apart from the merits 
which friendship to-night has magnified, or the defects 
which friendship to-night is kind enough to forget, there 
is only, indeed, one matter referred to on which I can fitly 
speak, and that is the unusual length of my career at the 
Bar. Fifty years have passed of active work at the Bar 
from beginning to end. There were twenty-two years 
of upward strife ; there were six years of Law Office ; and 
since then there have been twenty-two years of private 
practice, continuing to the end not as nominal practice, 
but as substantial and I say it under my breath lucra- 
tive practice down to this very month. My life at the Bar 
began before the Law Reports were born, but every year 
the Law Reports have contained a record of some of its 
incidents. In the first volume of the Privy Council 
Reports a case is mentioned in which my name appears as 
counsel when I was junior in a very important criminal 
appeal to Hardinge Giffard, and I believe that the Law 
Reports of the King's Bench Division for next month will 
contain a Report of the latest argument of mine in the 
King's Bench. That pretty completely fills the fifty years. 
It is a proud moment for me to stand in the midst of this 
great gathering of the chiefs and leaders of my profession 


and to be assured by them, as you have assured me to-night, 
that throughout these fifty years I have maintained the 
noble traditions of the English Bar. The name which I 
have just mentioned suggests the only personal reminis- 
cence upon which I will venture to-night. My firm resolve 
to make my way to the Bar dates from the night when 
nearly sixty years ago I heard in the House of Lords Lord 
Lyndhurst, then eighty-eight years of age, make a speech, 
and I noted the respect and almost reverence with which he 
was treated in that House. My first case reported at the 
Bar before the Law Reports existed is to be found in The 
Law Journal for April 27th, 1865, when I was junior to 
McMahon in an extradition case, and the leader on the 
other side again was Hardinge Giffard. My leader was just 
finishing his argument, and Giffard spoke to me and said, 
" How long do you think you will be ? " " Oh ! " I said, 
" I don't think he has left anything for me to say. I don't 
think I need follow." " Never mind," said Giffard, " you 
go on ; you want the judges to know you, and you want 
to get used to hearing your own voice in the courts." I 
followed that good advice, and I have been grateful for 
that good advice during all the fifty years that have passed 
since. From that day to this Giffard has been my kind 
friend, and it is one of my greatest pleasures in standing 
here to-night to receive this tribute of your kindness and 
goodwill that there should be sitting next to me the Lynd- 
hurst of our day, who has come to join in doing me honour. 
There is one drawback to the profession of the Bar, and it 
is this that the barrister's work, however well it may be 
done, is rarely known beyond his own generation. There 
are, no doubt, from time to time, cases of great public 
importance like, for instance, the Jameson case, or perhaps 
still more like the Parnell divorce case, leading to very 
great and far-reaching political results ; but although the 
names of these cases will be found in history, the names of 
the counsel engaged in them are unimportant and very soon 
forgotten. But there is one way in which an advocate may 
seek to secure some longer recollection of his work. Oratory 
has a literature of its own. The delightful and sadly neg- 
lected art of rhetoric finds its best illustration in forensic 
speech, and if an advocate addresses himself to his work, 
not only to the practical end of securing a verdict, but with 
the desire that his speeches shall have some literary quality, 


there is a possibility that they may be remembered later. 
I have done my best. The output of fifty years seems very 
small, but there are six speeches three in the Criminal 
Courts, three in the Civil Courts which I hope may be 
remembered for some time even after my generation has 
passed away. Let me say that I have been anxious to 
make better acknowledgment of your kindness to me 
to-night than could be conveyed in an inadequate speech, 
so I have done myself the pleasure of writing my name and 
the date to-day in sufficient copies of my volume of speeches 
to provide one for every diner at these tables. I shall be 
grateful to you if, when you leave this hall, you will each 
kindly take one of these packets and accept it and keep it 
as a souvenir of your kindness and of my gratitude. 

You have spoken of the leisure to which I may now look 
forward, and you, my Lord Chancellor, have very kindly 
encouraged me in the hope, which I trust may be at some 
time gratified, that, although I am parted from professional 
work at the Bar, I may be able to do some service to the 
public in some capacity for which my experience and know- 
ledge may have fitted me. I do not think that leisure will 
be passed idly ; in fact, the increasing leisure of the last 
few years has not been wholly wasted. I have written the 
story of my life for forty years. I have prepared the best 
English version of the New Testament that has ever been 
published. I have contrived the easiest system of short- 
hand that any one could learn. I have invented the simplest 
alphabet that the world has ever seen. I am not speaking 
of these things to claim any great credit for them. There 
is hardly any one in this hall who could not have done any 
of them if the thought had occurred to him, and if he had 
been willing to give the labour and the time which were 
necessary for the work. But at all events, I hope it may be 
an assurance that the leisure which I am hereafter to enjoy 
is not likely to be wholly wasted. You have spoken of my 
public and political life. I have had two great disappoint- 
ments, serious disappointments ; one which tried me very 
hard indeed, and one which was of comparatively minor 
significance. I did not come to the Bar from any attraction 
for the study of law, but I came to the Bar because I 
believed that through this profession, and through this 
alone, I might be able to make my way to political influence 
and position. For a time all went well. Before I was 


forty years of age, which, considering my commencement, 
was early, I had a seat in the House of Commons. Within 
six years I had become Solicitor-General, and then I had 
six years of the pleasantest association with my dear friend 
Richard Webster, who wrote to me yesterday, as well as 
writing to the chairman, and from whom I was glad to 
hear that he was so much better that he hoped next week 
to return to his home at Winterfold. Those six years 
passed. I had three years of even greater enjoyment in 
active work on the Front Opposition Bench, the most 
delightful position in the House of Commons. But there 
came a time a little later when, upon a very grave question 
of public importance, I found myself in conflict with the 
leaders of my own party, and with the popular feeling of 
the time. I could not make terms with my conscience. I 
acted as I believed to be right, and my political ambitions 
and hopes suddenly passed into shadow. There was an 
afterglow, where afterglows are not often seen, in the City 
of London ; but an afterglow, however interesting and even 
brilliant it may be, is never the beginning of a new day, and 
so the political hopes vanished. And then there came to 
my mind the hope that I might be thought worthy of wear- 
ing the judicial ermine. That dignity, indeed, had been 
offered to me some years before, but it was at a time when 
my political ambition had not suffered eclipse, and I refused 
it. No opportunity of acceptance was given later, and so 
it comes to pass that at the end of these fifty years I finish 
as I began, as a private member of the English Bar. To 
some that will look like failure, and indeed, of late years, 
I have been fond of quoting the beginning of that fine 
sonnet of Trench which begins, " Not all who seem to fail 
have failed indeed." 

But there has been no failure, and I have no reproaches 
or regrets. If success in life is to be measured in terms of 
personal happiness, as I think it ought to be, then no man 
ever had a more successful life than mine. God has blessed 
me with health in mind and body, and has given me many 
kind and faithful friends. I have spent my life in the 
practice of the most interesting profession in the world. I 
have had golden opportunities of distinction, both in 
politics and on the forensic side of law, and my political 
and professional activities have had for their background a 
domestic life of complete and continuous happiness. I am 

1914] LAST WORDS 419 

grateful to the committee and to you that the authors and 
sharers of that happiness, chief of them my dear wife, have 
the opportunity of being here to-night. It cannot but be 
that in the course of half a century of keen and constant 
and strenuous controversy I have from time to time been 
unfair and discourteous to my opponents (cries of " No, 
No") and have failed to appreciate and to acknowledge 
the help that has been given me by my juniors. There 
must in such a time have been such cases. It has never 
been from malice or jealousy, but it may have happened in 
the stress of very hard work and very great responsibility. 
I hope that when I leave this hall to-night I may feel that 
all such faults have been fully and freely forgiven, and that 
there is not a cloud to dim the memory of the happy half- 
century of work of which this is the closing scene. Once 
more with all my heart I thank you. 

When the speeches were over Lady Clarke and my sons 
and daughter joined me in the Benchers' Parlour, and there 
we received the farewell congratulations of many friends. 
Then, with my wife and daughter and my daughter's 
husband, I motored down to my home at Staines. There 
was little talking on the way. My heart was full of thank- 
fulness to God Who had given me health and strength for 
fifty years of strenuous work, and had surrounded me at 
their close with so much love and honour. 












Bishop's Stortford 


















































King's Lynn 











Newton Abbot 














Saffron Walden 

St. Ives 


















Tunbridge Wells 





West Bromwich 

West Ham 








Abbs, Mr., 260 

Abergavenny, William, 5th Earl 
of, 96 

Acland-Hood, Sir Alexander (after- 
wards Lord St. Audries), 386, 

Adams, Mr., editor of The Western 

Mail, 101 

Administrative Reform Associa- 
tion, meeting at Drury Lane 

Theatre, 43 

Africa, South, war in, 354, 364 
Agg-Gardner, Sir James, election 

petition cases, 102, 175 
Akers-Douglas, Rt. Hon. A. (Lord 

Chilston), at the Conference on 

Tariff Reform, 381 
Albert Hall, meetings at, 112 note, 


Aldenham, Alban, Baron, 375 
Alexander II, Emperor of Russia, 

memorial to, 342 
Algar, William, Mayor of Plymouth, 


Algeciras, 387 
Allen, Dr. Thomas, 58 
Alverstorie, Richard, Baron, 399 ; 

member of the Ecclesiastical 

Discipline Commission, 401. See 

Anderson, Mary, appearance, 72, 

J 95 
Anson, Rt. Hon. Sir William, at a 

meeting against Tariff Reform, 


Arnold, Matthew, 40 
Arts, Society of, examinations, 30, 


Ashley, Evelyn, 65 

Askwith, George, 282 

Asquith, Rt. Hon. H. H., Home 
Secretary, 313 ; Welsh Church 
Disestablishment Bill, 313 

Aston Park, riot at, 218 

Atkinson, Judge, 82 

Austen, Jane, 39 

Avis, Mrs., 139, 143 
Avory, Horace, 327 
Axbridge, 5 

Bacon, Vice-Chancellor Sir James, 

Balfour, Rt. Hon. A. J., member 
of the National Union Central 
Committee, 216, 217 ; restora- 
tion of peace and order in Ire- 
land, 270 ; on the proposal to 
carry on Bills, 288 ; changes in 
his Cabinet, 371 ; defeat at Man- 
chester, 377 ; M.P. for the City 
of London, 380 ; relations with 
Sir E. Clarke, 380, 388 ; negotia- 
tions on Tariff Reform, 381 ; 
speech on Tariff Reform, 383 ; 
treatment of Sir E. Clarke, 388, 

Balfour, Rt. Hon. Gerald, at the 
Conference on Tariff Reform, 381 

Balfour, Miss, 380 

Ballantine, William, characteristics, 
8 1 ; visit to India, 81 ; at Bou- 
logne, 8 1 

Banbury, Sir Frederick, 375 

Bankruptcy Bill, 204, 206, 208 

Barlow, William, 54 

Barnett, Mr., agent of the Duke of 
Marl borough, 107 

Barnett, Mr., candidate for Dover, 

Barran, Mr., 204 

Barrington, George, 7th Viscount, 
1 66 

Bartlett, Adelaide, marriage, 246; 
relations with G. Dyson, 247 ; 
death of her husband, 248 ; trial, 
249-253, acquitted, 253 

Bartlett, Thomas Edwin, marriage, 
246 ; relations with his wife, 
247 ; death, 248 

Bates, Sir Edward, election peti- 
tion case, 183 ; candidate for 




Plymouth, 235, 244, 255 ; re- 
tires, 315 

Bath, 5, 1 08 

Beaconsfield, Benjamin, Earl of, 
kindness to Sir E. Clarke, 164, 
165 ; death, 189 ; portrait of, 
241. See Disraeli 

Beal, Edward, 249 

Beaty v. Gilbanks, 298 

Bechuanaland British Protector- 
ate, 324 

Begg, Faithful, 375 

Behr, George, 69 

Belgium, 235 

Bellew, Rev. J. M., Blount Tempest, 
85 ; criticism on, 85 

Benjamin, Judah P., 271 

Bennett, Thomas Randall, lectures 
on Constitutional Law, 59; pupils, 


Benson, Harry, schemes of fraud, 
139 ; the Great Turf Fraud 
trial, 139-147 ; cross-examina- 
tion, 145 

Bentinck, Lord George, 18 

Beresford, Colonel Marcus, M.P. for 
South war k, 103, 156 

Bernays, Sir Albert, 112 

Bevan, Mr., election petition case, 

Bexhill, 31 

Bigham, John C., 279. See Mersey 

Bills, proposal to carry on, from 
session to session, 192, 204, 287 ; 
Committee appointed, 288 

Binnie, Sir Alexander, 391 

Birmingham, Conference of the 
National Union, 214 

Biron, Robert, 175 

Blackburn, Mr. Justice, 83 

Blair, Mr., 368 

Blake, Mr., on Irish finance, 334 

Blandford, Marquess of, relations 
with the Prince of Wales, 213 

Boer War, 354, 364 

Booth, General, organisation of the 
Salvation Army, 298 

Borthwick, Sir Algernon, election 
petition case, 176 ; on the pro- 
posal to carry on Bills, 288. See 

Bousfield, Major, 108 

Bradlaugh, Charles, 66 ; contro- 
versy in the House of Commons, 
189, 192 

Bramwell, Baron, 272 

Bright, Rt. Hon. John, 167 

Brighton, 308 ; election, 372 

Brindisi, 318 

Bristowe, Dr. J. S M 126 ; evidence 

on the Penge case, 127 
British Guiana, boundaries of, 319- 


Brodribb, Thomas, 31 

Brodrick, Hon. George, candidate 
for Woodstock, 107 

Bronte, Charlotte, 40 

Brougham, Henry, ist Baron, Lives 
of the Statesmen of the Reign of 
George III, 43 ; at a meeting of 
the Working Men's Club, 63, 64 

Brown, Clara, 123 ; evidence at the 
Penge trial, 128 

Brown, George, evidence at the 
Macclesfield election petition case, 

Brown, Joseph, 86 

Browne, Balfour, K.C., at the fare- 
well dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 414 

Browning, Mrs., 40 

Browning, Robert, 40 

Bruce, Mr. Justice Gainsford, 375 

Bryant, Kathleen, 194 ; appear- 
ance, 195 ; marriage, 195. See 

Buckland, Virgo, 200 

Bucknill, Mr. Justice Thomas, 
Counsel for the Defence in the 
West of England Bank case, 173 

Burnaby, Colonel, elected member 
of the National Union, 217 

Butt, Sir Charles, Judge in the 
Parnell divorce case, 289 

Butterfield, Mrs., 121 

Byron, Lord, 39 ; anecdote of, 70 

Cadogan, George, 5th Earl, at the 
debate on the Home Rule Bill, 


Cairns, Hugh, ist Earl, 205 

Cairo, 387 

Campbell-Bannerman, Rt. Hon. 
Sir Henry, 383 

Canada, 366 

Candlewick Ward Club, meetings 

Canning, Rt. Hon. George, 5 

Cannon Street Hotel, meeting, 388 

Canterbury, election petition case, 

Cardiff, meetings at, 101, 109 

Carlyle, Thomas, 40 

Carson, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward, 328 

Casabianca, Mr., 120, 122 

Cattley, Mark, 163 ; candidate for 
South war k, 169 

Causton, Richard, M.P. for Col- 
chester, 174. See South wark 



Cave, Rt. Hon. Sir George, at the 
farewell dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 

Cave, Mr. Justice Lewis, 175 

Cavendish, Ada, appearance, 74 ; 
costume, 74 ; career, 74 

Cavendish, Victor (Duke of Devon- 
shire), at a meeting against Tariff 
Reform, 382 

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Austen, at 
the conference on Tariff Reform, 

Chamberlain, Rt. Hon. Joseph, 
President of the Board of Trade, 
204 ; Bankruptcy Bill, 204, 208 ; 
attack on shipowners, 209 ; Mer- 
chant Shipping Bill, 210; ad- 
mitted to office, 211 ; relations 
with W. E. Gladstone, 211, 212 ; 
personality, 212 ; character of 
his speeches, 212 ; resignation, 
246, 371 ; relations with Lord 
Hartington, 264 ; at the Round 
Table Conference, 264 ; plan of 
National Councils for Ireland, 
264 ; article in The Baptist, 264 ; 
on the proposal to carry on Bills, 
288 ; Colonial Secretary, 324 ; 
Workmen's Compensation Bill, 
339 ; negotiations with South 
Africa, 346, 350 ; Tariff Reform 
scheme, 367, 381 

Channel Tunnel Bill, 271 

Chaplin, Rt. Hon. Henry, 216 ; 
elected member of the National 
Union, 217 

Charles, Sir Arthur, Counsel for the 
Defence in the West of England 
Bank case, 173 

Charley, Sir W. T., member of the 
National Union, 97, 98 

Chartist riot of 1848, 13 

Chelmsford, Frederick, ist Baron, 


Cheltenham, meeting at, 101 ; elec- 
tion petition case, 175 
Chester, Harry, 30, 59 
Childers, Rt. Hon. Hugh, member 
of the Commission on Irish 
Finance, 333 

" Church and its Work," 399 
Church Association, attacks on Sir 

E. Clarke, 400 

Church Defence Institution, 397 
Church Discipline Bill, 399 
Churchill, Lord Randolph, engage- 
ment, 107 ; friendship with Sir 
E Clarke, 107, 218 ; candidate 
for Woodstock, 107 ; nervous- 

ness at addressing the election 
meeting, 108 ; seat in the House 
of Commons, 191 ; position in 
Parliament, 211 ; characteristics, 
213 ; member of the Council of 
the National Union, 214 ; at the 
Birmingham Conference, 214; 
elected chairman, 215; resigna- 
tion, 216, 217 ; Chancellor of 
the Exchequer, 255 ; leader of 
the House of Commons, 263 ; 
resignation, 26 ^ 

Churchill, Rt. Hon. Winston, Life 
of Lord Randolph Churchill, 214, 
217 note 

City Commercial School, Lombard 
Street, 21, 68 

Clark, Sir Andrew, 153 

Clarke, Sir Andrew, 347 

Clarke, Annie, illness, 91, 153, 167, 
188 ; birth of her sons, 92, 94 ; 
recovery, 93 ; birth of her daugh- 
ters, 94, 114; death of her 
daughter Mabel, 154 ; at Hast- 
ings, 154 ; letters from her hus- 
band, 154, 161, 162, 164, 165 ; 
death, 189. See Mitchell 

Clarke, Edward, M.P. for Taunton, 2 

Clarke, Sir Edward, 2 ; Treasurer 
of Lincoln's Inn, 3 ; sketch of 
his life, 3 

Clarke, Sir Edward, Lord Mayor 
of London, 4 

Clarke, Rt. Hon. Sir Edward, an- 
cestors, 2 ; namesakes, 2-4 ; 
father, 5, 8 ; mother, 6, 10 ; 
birth, 7 ; childhood, 8-16 ; home 
in King William Street, n ; at 
Greenwich, 13 ; at school at 
Edmonton, 16-18, 20 ; lessons 
in shorthand, 17 ; elocution, 17, 
23 ; at the Duke of Wellington's 
funeral, 19 ; friendship with R. 
Pottle, 21 ; at the City Commer- 
cial School, 21-24, 68 ; recita- 
tions, 24, 68 ; life in the shop, 
25-37 ; attends evening classes 
at Crosby Hall, 30 ; prizes, 30, 
31 ; essay on Hamlet, 31 ; walk- 
ing tours, 31, 32, no; Associate 
in Arts of Oxford University, 
33 ; at Hampton Court, 33 ; 
first meeting with Annie Mit- 
chell, 33 ; wins the examination 
for a writership in the India 
Office, 35 ; influence of books, 
38-42 ; play The Serf, 42, 70 ; 
lectures, 46, 53 ; attends a 
choral society, 47 ; work at the 



India House, 49 ; attends even- 
ing classes at King's College, 51, 
71 ; edits the Journal of the 
Evening Classes for Young Men, 
52 ; contributions, 53 ; engage- 
ment, 54 ; gratuity on leaving 
the India House, 56 ; examina- 
tion for the Tancred studentship, 
57-59 I elected a Student of Lin- 
coln's Inn, 59 ; attends lectures 
at the Working Men's College, 

59 ; literary work for newspapers, 

60 ; study of rhetoric, 60 ; at- 
tends debates of the Hardwicke 
Society, 61, 90, 05 ; study of 
speeches in the House of Com- 
mons, 62, 90, 95; Hon. Secretary 
of the Working Men's Club and 
Institute Union, 63 ; engagement 
broken off, 64 ; pupil under Mr. 
Bennett, 65 ; barrister of Lincoln's 
Inn, 67 ; visits to the theatre, 68 ; 
theatrical acquaintances, 70-75; 
Associate of King's College, 76; 
chambers, 77 ; at the Surrey 
Sessions, 78 ; case at the Central 
Criminal Court, 80 ; address at 
the " Socials " debating society, 
83 ; reconciliation with Annie 
Mitchell, 84 ; ceases to be on the 
staff of the newspapers, 85 ; ex- 
tradition ca?es, 86, 87 ; fees, 87, 
90, 93, 114, 149, 171, 194, 259; 
book on extradition, 87 ; mar- 
riage, 88 ; at Hastings, 89 ; 
home at Gloucester Cottages, 89 ; 
life of economy, 90 ; illness of 
his wife, 91, 153 ; insures his 
life, 93 ; member of the National 
Union, 97, 98, 217 ; first political 
speech at York, 99 ; lectures on 
the Irish Church Establishment, 
100 ; at Cheltenham, 101 ; Car- 
diff, 101, 109; Swansea, 101 ; 
declines to stand for Hackney, 
102 ; election petition cases, 102, 
174-184, 407 ; Chairman of the 
Lambeth Conservative Associa- 
tion, 103, 106 ; at the Dover 
election/ 104; at Woodstock, 
107 ; Bath, 1 08 ; Freemason, 
110 ; Master of the Caledonian 
Lodge, in ; Past Grand War- 
den, 112; Master of "Sir Ed- 
ward Clarke" Lodge, 112 ; home 
at Dagmar Villa, 113; death of 
his brother, 118; moves to 
Huntingdon Lodge, 118 ; can- 
didate for Southwark, 119, 149, 

169 ; the Penge case, 120-134 ; 
peroration of his speech, 129 ; 
interview with Louis Staunton, 
134 ; the Great Turf Fraud case, 
136-148 ; method of cross-ex- 
amination, 144 ; refuses the 
offer of Counsel to the Treasury, 
152 ; illness of his mother, 153 ; 
death of his daughter, 154 ; 
address to the Electors of South- 
wark, 157-161 ; M.P. for South- 
wark, 163 ; reception in the 
House of Commons, 164 ; enter- 
tained by Lord Beaconsfield, 
165 ; on Local Option, 167 ; 
illness, 169, 245, 365, 387 ; loses 
his seat, 170 ; Q.C., 171 ; Counsel 
for the Defence in the West of 
England Bank case, 173 ; candi- 
date for Plymouth, 184, 244 ; 
M.P., 186, 245, 255, 256, 300, 
316 ; death of his wife, 189 ; 
rooms at Belgrave Mansions, 189 ; 
in Switzerland, 189 ; at the New- 
castle meeting, 190 ; proposal to 
carry on Bills, 192, 204, 288 ; 
case of Esther Pay, 194 ; second 
marriage, 195 ; political speeches 
in the north of England, 196 ; 
at Plymouth, 196, 270 ; death 
of his mother, 197 ; house in 
Russell Square, 197-199 ; gives 
up smoking, 199 ; fondness for 
boating, 200 ; purchases Thorn- 
cote, 20 1 ; builds St. Peter's 
Church, 202 ; clauses on the 
Corrupt Practices Bill, 2-07 ; at 
Aston Park, 218 ; controversy 
on finance with Mr. Gladstone, 
219-224; atPynes, 224; amend- 
ment to the Address, 225; memor- 
andums on the Franchise Bill, 
227-230 ; on the principle of 
Proportional Representation, 2 32; 
on the Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, 
233. 397 ; tour in Belgium, 235 ; 
criticism on J. Morley's amend- 
ment, 237 ; exclusion from office, 
242 ; retires from the National 
Union, 243 ; the Bartlett case, 
246-253 ; appointed Solicitor- 
General, 255 ; entertained at the 
Guildhall, Plymouth, 256; speech, 
257-259, 291-293 ; relations with 
his colleague, Sir R. Webster, 
259 ; hours of work, 262 ; on 
the charge against The Times, 
268 ; views on the Channel 
Tunnel, 271 ; President of the 



Birmingham Law Students' So- 
ciety, 272 ; " The Future of the 
Legal Profession," 272 ; Counsel 
in the trial against Lord Salis- 
bury, 277-279 ; declines brief 
for The Times case, 282 ; Parnell 
divorce case, 283-286, 289 ; case 
of Sir W. Gordon-Gumming, 
295-298 ; opinion of the Salva- 
tion Army, 299 ; caricature in 
Punch, 299 ; on disestablishment 
of the Church in Wales, 299 ; 
franchise and registration reform, 
299 ; visit to Ireland, 302 ; 
witnesses the procession to Glas- 
nevin Cemetery, 302-304 ; im- 
pressions of the Irish, 305 ; on 
the Home Rule Bill, 309 ; the 
duty of the House of Commons, 
310 ; amendment on the " Period 
of Qualifications and Elections 
Bill," 312 ; declines Solicitor- 
Generalship, 317 ; tour in Italy, 
318, 365 ; on the controversy 
with the United States, 321 ; the 
Jameson Raid case, 323-329 ; 
case of Messrs. Werriher, Beit & 
Co., 329-331 ; on adjustment of 
Irish grievances, 334, 335 ; de- 
clines Mastership of the Rolls, 
336 ; tours in Russia, 341, 346 ; 
War for Commerce, 344 ; letter 
to The Times, 348 ; offers to re- 
sign his seat, 350 ; protest against 
war with South Africa, 351-353, 
355 ; loyalty to his party, 357 ; 
resigns his seat, 360, 362 ; applies 
for the Chiltern Hundreds, 362, 
389 ; marriage of his daughter, 
364 ; at Rome, 365 ; tour in 
Egypt, 365 ; trip to Canada, 366- 

371 ; candidate for Brighton, 

372 ; trip to the Mediterranean, 
374 ; candidate for the City of 
London, 376 ; M.P., 377 ; rela- 
tions with A. J. Balfour, 380, 
388 ; views against Tariff Re- 
form, 384 ; on the creed of the 
Tory party, 385 ; trip to Cairo, 
387 ; resigns his seat, 389 ; at 
Jersey, 390 ; meditation at 
Thorncote, 391-395 ; pictures, 
392-394 ; Treasurer of Lincoln's 
Inn, 396 ; religious principles, 
397 ; address at the Albert Hall 
on " The Church and its Work," 
399 ; member of the Commission 
on Ecclesiastical Discipline, 401- 
403 ; President of the National 

Church League, 403 ; trip to 
South Africa, 403 ; book on short- 
hand, 404 ; Swifthand : a New 
Simple and Rapid Method of Writ- 
ing, 405 ; emendation of the 
Epistles, 406 ; appointed Privy 
Councillor, 407 ; sworn in, 408 ; 
financial loss, 409 ; leaves Thorn- 
cote, 410 ; builds a small house, 
410; library, 411; farewell 
dinner at Lincoln's Inn Hall, 413 ; 
speech, 414-419 

Clarke, Ethel, birth, 114 ; at school 
in Folkestone, 200 ; marriage, 
363. See Rees-Webbe 

Clarke, Frances, birth of her daugh- 
ters, 6 ; son, 7 ; character, 10 ; 
religious views, 10 ; criticism on 
her son Edward's delivery of his 
lectures, 46 ; illness, 153 ; death, 

Clarke, Frances, 6, 12 ; takes 
charge of her brother's house, 189 

Clarke, George, 4 

Clarke, George, senior officer at 
Scotland Yard, 138 ; case against, 
138-147 ; acquitted, 147 

Clarke, H. R., evidence at the 
Turf Fraud case, 142 

Clarke, Joseph, 35; illness, 114; 
distinguished career at school, 
114; characteristics, 115, 117; 
received into the Church of Rome, 

115 ; at Broad way, 116 ; Dublin, 

116 ; released from his monastic 
vows, 117 ; various occupations, 

117 ; illness, 117 ; death, 118 
Clarke, Kathleen, Lady, wedding 

tour, 196 ; at Plymouth, 197 ; 
Russell Square, 1 97 ; birth of her 
sons, 200 ; delicate health, 200 ; 
lays the foundation-stone of St. 
Peter's Church, 203 ; tour in 
Belgium, 235 ; attack of typhoid 
fever, 235 ; at Staines, 280 ; 
letters from her husband. 280, 
281 ; tour in Italy, 318 ; Russia, 
346 ; at Sherborne Castle, 348 ; 
trip to Cairo, 387 ; attack of 
tonsilitis, 387 ; present at the 
farewell dinner to her husband, 
414. See Bryant 

Clarke, Mabel, 94, 114 ; illness and 
death, 154 

Clarke, Margaretta, 6, 12 

Clarke, Mr., apprenticed to a 
silversmith, 5 ; marriage, 6 ; 
jeweller's shop, 6 ; characteris- 
tics, 8 .9 ; conservatism, 9 ; in- 



come, ii ; moves from King 
William Street to Moorgate Street, 
35 ; wedding gift to his son Ed- 
ward, 89 ; congratulations to 
him, 164 ; lives with him, 189 
Clarke, Percival, birth, 94 ; at 
school in Hastings, 200 ; at Eton 
and Trinity Hall, 201 ; visit to 
Ireland, 302 ; tour in the nor- 
thern capitals, 341 ; Canada, 
366 ; at the farewell dinner to 
his father, 414 

Clarke, William, birth, 200 ; trip 
to Cairo, 387 ; at the farewell 
dinner to his father, 414 
Cleveland, Dowager Duchess of, 347 
Cleveland, President, Commission 
on the British Guiana Boun- 
daries, 319-323 
Clifton, Bishop of, 116 
Cobden Club, manifesto, 343 
Cockburn, Alexander, Lord Chief 
Justice, 1 8, 83, 85 ; praise of 
Sir E. Clarke, 86 ; West of Eng- 
land Bank case, 173 
Colchester, election petition case, 

J 74 

Colenso, battle-field of, 404 

Coleridge, Lady, 296 

Coleridge, Lord, The Times case, 
273 ; case of Sir W. Gordon- 
Gumming, 296 ; summing-up, 

Coleridge, W. H., founder of the 
" City Press," 52 

Collins, Arthur, Counsel for the 
Prosecution in the West of Eng- 
land Bank case, 173 ; election 
petition case at Plymouth, 183 

Collins, Wilkie, 40 

Comberbatch, Father, influence on 
Joseph Clarke, 115 

Commons, House of, dynamite ex- 
plosions, 236 ; scene in, 281 

Connaught, H.R.H. Duke of, Grand 
Master of the Freemasons, 112 

Conservative Associations, meet- 
ings, 97, 99 

Conservative Union, organisation, 

Cooks' Company, 8, 9 note 

Cookson, Montague, K.C., attends 
the debates of the Hardwicke 
Society, 61 

Coppin, Charles, case of, 87 

Cordite, supply of, 314 

Cornhill Magazine, 120 note, 136 
note, 194 note 

Coromandel, the, 318 

Corrupt Practices Bill, 206 

Corry, Montagu, 65. See Rowton 

Courtney, Leonard, ist Baron, at- 
tends the debates of the Hard- 
wicke Society, 61 ; at the fare- 
well dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 414 

Coward, Lewis, 175, 283 

Co wen, Joseph, 190 

Cozens-Hardy, Lord, Master of the 
Rolls, 408 

Craig, Norman, 330 

Crawford, Sir Homewood, 177, 340 

Crawford, Mrs., divorce case, 260 

Creswick, William, 42, 70 

Crimes Act, 239, 265, 270 

Criminal Evidence Act of 1898, 
27 note, 339 

Crocodile, H.M.S., 13 

Crosby Hall, evening classes for 
young men, 29 ; lectures, 46 ; 
debating society, 53 ; elocution- 
ary entertainment, 53 

Cr os well, Mr., 5 

Crystal Palace, 90, 98 

Currie, Bertram, member of the 
Commission on Irish Finance, 333 

Currie, Raikes, 45 

Curzon, George, ist Earl, 375 

Dagmar Villa, 113 

Darling, Mr. Justice, 413 

Davis, Charles, 50 

Day, Sir John, 175, 285 ; Counsel 
for the Defence in the West of 
England Bank case, 173 ; on 
Parnell Commission, 284 

Day, Mr., consultation with Sir E. 
Clarke on the Parnell divorce 
case, 284 

Day, S. H., Counsel for the Defence 
in the West of England Bank 
case, 173 

Deane, Sir Bar grave, 335 

Death Duties Bill, 312 

Debt, National, reduction, 294 

Deceased Wife's Sister Bill, 232, 397 

Delagoa Bay Railway, opening, 323 

Denison, Colonel, 370 

Detectives, case against, 137 ; trial, 

Dibdin, Sir Lewis, 401 

Dickens, Charles, 40 ; at the Ad- 
ministrative Reform Association 
meeting, 44 

Dickens, Henry, at the farewell 
dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 414 

Digby, Wingfield, 348 

Dilke, Rt. Hon. Sir Charles, ad- 
mitted to office, 211 ; member 



of the Cabinet, 212 ; divorce 
case, 260 ; Redistribution Bill, 
312 ; characteristics, 313 

Dillon, John, against the proposal 
to carry on Bills, 288 

Dillwyn, Mr., 288 

Dimsdale, Rt. Hon. Sir Joseph, 

3 6 4> 374 

Disraeli, Rt. Hon. Benjamin, 18 ; 
political novels, 39 ; Coningsby, 
42 ; Sybil, 42 ; principles of his 
political faith, 96 , on the rights 
of the working class, 98 ; Reform 
Bill of 1867, 100, 312 ; refuses 
to form an administration, 103 ; 
generosity, in. See Beaconsfield 

Dolgelly, no 

Don Pacifico, debate on, 18 

Donkin, Professor, 33 

Doughty, Sir George, trip to Can- 
ada, 367 

Dover, election, 104 

Druscovich, Chief Inspector, 137 ; 
case against, 137-147; verdict, 


Dublin, 302 

Duff, Rt. Hon. Sir R. W., on the 
defeat of the Ministry, 240 

Duke, Rt. Hon. Henry E., 406 ; 
career, 196 ; character, 196 ; at 
the farewell dinner to Sir E. 
Clarke, 414 

Dunn, Andrew, candidate for South- 
war k, 156 

Durban, 404 

Dyke, Rt. Hon. Sir William Hart, 
private secretary to Lord Beacons- 
field, 165 

Dynamite explosions, 236 

Dyson, Rev. George, relations with 
A. Bartlett, 247 ; accused of 
murder, 249 ; verdict, 250 

Eady, Frank, 7 note 

Eastbourne, 31 

Ecclesiastical Discipline, Royal 

Commission on, 396, 401-403 
Edmonton, school at, 16 
Education, Free, established, 294 
Edward VII, King, installed Grand 

Master of Masons, in 
Egypt, 365 

Election, General, in 1874, 105 
Election petition cases, 174-184 
Electors, increase in the number, 


Eliot, George, 40 
Ellenborough, Edward, ist Earl of. 

Governor- General of India, 48 

Employers' Liability Bill, 270, 338 
English Church Union, 397 
Esher, William, ist Baron, 330, 336 
Evans, Sir David, 374, 380 
Evesham election petition case, 176 
Examiner, The, 62 
Extradition, editions of, 87 

Farren, Nellie, 72 

Farrer, Thomas, ist Baron, mem- 
ber of the Commission on Irish 
Finance, 333 

Farwell, Mr. Justice, 391 

Faust, performance of, 253 

Fawcett, Rt. Hon. Henry, Post- 
master-General, 221 

Fenn, Thomas, in 

Fergusson, Rt. Hon. Sir James, 
mission to Lisbon, 263 

Ferrier, Dr., 389 

Ferrieres, Baron de, election peti- 
tion case, 176 

Fielding, Mr., 369 

Finance Bill, 313 

Financial Reform Almanack, 219 

Finlaison, William, The Times re- 
porter, 86 

Finlay, Rt. Hon. Sir Robert, 327 ; 
appointed Solicitor-General, 318 ; 
characteristics, 318 ; at the fare- 
well dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 

Fitzgerald, Penrose, 314; on the 
proposal to carry on Bills, 288 

Fitzpatrick, Mr., 368 

Foote, Lydia, 74 

Forsyth, William, Hortensius, 356 ; 
epigram, 357 

Fortnightly Review, 211 note 

Forwood, Rt. Hon. Sir Arthur, 
elected member of the National 
Union, 217 ; scheme for the in- 
crease of the shipwrights' wages, 

Foster, Peter Le Neve, 30 

Franchise Bill, 224, 226 

Franchise Reform, 299, 300 

Fraser's Magazine, 191 note 

Freemasonry, character of the 
teaching, 113 

Fremantle, Admiral, instructions, 

Frere, Bartle, clerk to the Tancred 
Trustees, 57 

Friswell, J. Hain, 72 ; A Pair of 
Gloves, 27 

Froggatt, Edward, case against, 

Froude, James A., 40 



Furness, Sir Christopher, election 

petition case, 407 
Furniss, Harry, caricature of Sir E. 

Clarke, 299 
Fur ni vail, F. J., 42 

Gardner, Biscombe, portrait of Lord 
Beaconsfield, 412 

Gaskell, Mrs., 40 ; Sylvia's Lovers, 64 

George, Frances, marriage, 6 ; ap- 
pearance, 6. See Clarke 

George, Henry, 10 

Gervis, Dr. Henry, 91 ; attends 
Mrs. E. Clarke, 91 

Gibbs, Alban, 375 ; candidate for 
the City of London, 376 ; elec- 
tion, 377 ; vacates his seat, 380. 
See Aldenham 

Giffard, Sir Hardinge, characteris- 
tics, 82 ; advice to Sir E. Clarke, 
83, 416 ; candidate for Cardiff, 
109 ; marriage, 109 ; Solicitor- 
General, 126 ; Counsel for the 
Prosecution in the West of Eng- 
land Bank case, 173. See Hals- 

Giff en, Sir Robert, evidence on Irish 
finance, 333 

Gill, Charles F., 295, 328 

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. Herbert, op- 
position to the London Govern- 
ment Act, 340 

Gladstone, Rt. Hon. W. E., 18 ; 
on the Parliamentary Franchise, 
82 ; opinion of H. C. Raikes, 95 ; 
defeat of his Ministry, 103, 240 ; 
difficulty of his seat for Green- 
wich, 105 ; vote of thanks to 
H.M. Forces in Egypt, 205 ; 
relations with J. Chamberlain, 
211, 212 ; disapproval of his 
speeches, 213 ; financial state- 
ment, 219-221 ; letter to Sir E. 
Clarke, 221 ; memorandum, 222 ; 
meetings on the Franchise Bill, 
226 ; on the Crimes Act, 239 ; 
return to office, 246 ; conversion 
to the Channel Tunnel project, 
271 ; treatment of Parnell, 275 ; 
opinion of him, 277 ; Tithes Bill, 
280 ; attack on the proposal to 
carry on Bills, 288 ; Home Rule 
Bill, 309 ; defection on the Welsh 
Church Bill, 314 

Gladstone, W. H., 95 

Glasnevin Cemetery, procession to, 

Glenesk, Algernon, ist Baron, 176. 
See Borthwick 

Glengarriff, 302 

Gloucester Cottages, 89 

Gordon, General, death at Khar- 
toum, 236 

Gordon-Cumming, Sir William, case, 

Gorst, Harold, The Fourth Party, 
extract from, 215, 217 note 

Gorst, Rt. Hon. Sir John Eldon, 
M.P. for Cambridge, 96 ; appear- 
ance and characteristics, 96 ; 
member of the National Union, 
97, 217 ; elected Vice- President, 
98 ; appointed Solicitor-General, 

Graham, Rt. Hon. Sir James, 18 

Gravesend, election petition case, 


Great Britain, controversy with the 
United States, 319-323 ; dispute 
with Venezuela, 319 ; financial 
relations with Ireland, 332 ; re- 
port of commissioners, 333 ; rela- 
tions with Russia, 341 
Greenwich, 13 
Greet, Captain, 13 
Grey de Wilton, Lord, 108 
Grosvenor, Lord Richard, 239 
Guest, Ivor, candidate for Ply- 
mouth, 359. See Wimborne 
Guide to English History, A, 36 
Gully, W. C., case against Lord 

Salisbury, 279. See Selby 
Gye, Percy, 122, 126 

Hackett, Miss, 29 
Hackney, meeting at, 102 
Hague, The, conference at, 342 
Haldane, Richard, ist Viscount, at 

the farewell dinner to Sir E. 

Clarke, 413 
Halnaby, 196 
Halsbury, Hardinge, ist Earl of, 

Lord Chancellor, 241, 315 ; at 

the farewell dinner to Sir E. 

Clarke, 414. See Giffard 
Hamber, Capt. Thomas, 60 
Hamilton, Lord Claud, 216 
Hamilton, Sir Edward, evidence 

on Irish finance, 333 
Hamilton, Rt. Hon. Lord George, 

166, 225, 371 ; on the increase 

of the shipwrights' wages, 300 
Hamilton, Lady, no 
Hamlet, essay on, 31 
Hampton Court, 33 
Hansard, extract from, 232 
Hanson, Sir Reginald, 364, 374 



Harcourt, Rt. Hon. Sir William, 
212 ; at the Round Table Con- 
ference, 264 ; treatment of Par- 
nell, 275 ; at the National Liberal 
Club, 287 ; against the proposal 
to carry on Bills, 288 ; Chancellor 
of the Exchequer, 312 ; Local 
Veto Bill, 312 ; Death Duties 
Bill, 313 ; relations with his col- 
leagues, 314 

Hardwicke Society, debates, 61, 
95 ; dinner at, 366 

Hardy, Hon. A. E. Gathorne, elec- 
tion petition case, 177 

Harms-worth, Alfred, letter to The 
Evening News, 358. See North- 

Harrison, Charles, death, 359 

Harrison, Frederic, attends the de- 
bates of the Hardwicke Society, 

Hartington, Marquis of, 167 ; at 
Plymouth, 254 ; offer from Lord 
Salisbury, 263 ; relations with 
J. Chamberlain, 264 ; on the 
proposal to carry on Bills, 288 

Hartlepool election petition case, 

Harvey, W. C., member of the 
National Union, 97, 98 

Hastings, 31, 89, 92, 163, 245 ; 
election, 245 

Hawker, W. H., 197 

Hawkesley, Bourchier, 323, 330 

Hawkins, Sir Henry, the Penge case, 
126 ; bias, 128 ; summing-up, 
130 ; pronounces the sentence 
of death, 133 ; retires, 135 ; the 
Jameson Raid case, 327 

Hay, Claude, 375 

Hay, Sir John, 166 

Henniker, John, 5th Baron, 216 

Henry VIII, revival of, 69 

Herbert, Hon. Sir Robert Wynd- 
ham, career, 347 

Herbert, Sidney, 18 

Herschell, Farrer, ist Baron, Coun- 
sel for the Defence in the West 
of England Bank case, 173 ; 
Solicitor-General, 210 

Hersee, Rose, 90 

Hicks-Beach, Rt. Hon. Sir Michael, 
elected member of the National 
Union, 217; Chairman, 217; 
Chancellor of the Exchequer, 
334 ; relations with Sir E. Clarke, 

Hicks-Beach, W. F., at a meeting 

against Tariff Reform, 382 

Holker, Sir John, Attorney- General, 
126 ; characteristics, 127 ; the 
Great Turf Fraud case, 138, 146 ; 
offers to appoint Sir E. Clarke 
Counsel to the Treasury, 152 ; 
appoints A. L. Smith, 153 ; Coun- 
sel for the Prosecution in the 
West of England Bank case, 173 

Holmesdale, Viscount, Chairman of 
the Council of the National Union, 

Home Rule Bill, the first, 246 ; 
rejected, 254 ; the second, 308- 


Hood, Thomas, 39 
Houldsworth, William, 216 
Howard, Morgan, 79, 106 ; pre- 
parations to contest Lambeth, 

Howard, Thomas Ross, 31, 33, 37 
Howard, William George, 120 
Hubbard, Hon. Evelyn, candidate 

for Plymouth, 316 
Huddleston, Baron, the Great Turf 

Fraud case, 136 
Hughes, Tom, 42 
Hulse, Sir Edward, 296 
Hunter, Dr., against the proposal 

to carry on Bills, 288 
Huntingdon Lodge, 118 
Hurstmonceux, 31 

Imperial Review, The, 97 

India House, work of the, 49 ; 
removal to Whitehall, 55 ; re- 
organisation of the staff, 55 

India Office, examination for writer- 
ships, 35 ; number of candidates, 

Ireland, Home Rule Bills, 246, 265, 
308 ; plan of National Councils, 
264 ; Crimes Act, 265, 270 ; re- 
storation of peace and order, 270 ; 
Act of 1 88 1 amended, 270 ; im- 
pressions of the people, 305 ; 
financial relations with Great 
Britain, 332 ; report of Com- 
missioners,,: 333 ; Local Govern- 
ment Bill, 335, 338 

Irish Church ^Establishment, 100 

Irish University Bill, 103 

Irving, Sir Henry, 24, 68, 72, 195, 

2 53 

Isaacs, Rufus, 330, 406. See Read- 

Italy, 318, 365 

Ixion, burlesque of, 74 

James, Edward, &6 



James, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry, 86, 
282 ; Counsel for the Defence in 
the West of England Bank case, 
173 ; Corrupt Practices Bill, 206 ; 
characteristics, 206 ; refuses the 
Woolsack, 246 

Jameson, Dr., raid, 323-326 ; in 
command of the forces, 324 ; 
surrenders, 326 ; character, 327 ; 
trial, 327-329 ; Premier of Cape 
Colony, 403 ; entertains Sir E. 
Clarke, 403 

Jelf, Mr. Justice, 330 

Jenner, Sir William, 133 ; pre- 
scribes for Sir E. Clarke, 169 ; 
advice to him, 199 

Jennings, Louis, 97 ; on the proposal 
to carry on Bills, 288 

[ erome, Miss, engagement, 107 

Jersey, 390 

Jessel, Rt. Hon. Sir George, 104 

Jessopp, Miss, 84 

Jeune, Sir Francis, candidate for 
Colchester, 174. See St. Helier 

Johannesburg, 403 ; insurrection, 

Johnson, William, no; secretary 
of the Caledonian MasonicLodge, 

Johnstone, Butler, candidate for 
Canterbury, 177 

Johnstone, James, 60 

Jones, Trevor, 201 

Journal of the Evening Classes, 42, 

5 2 
Julius Casar, performance of, 70 

Karslake, Sir John, 86 

Kean, Charles, 68, 69 

Kean, Mrs. Charles, 69 

Keats, John, 39 

Kelly, Sir Fitzroy, 66 

Kennaway, Rt. Hon. Sir John, at 

a meeting against Tariff Reform, 


Kentish Mercury, The 150 
Kiel Canal, 341 
Killarney, 302 
Kilmainham, Treaty of, 286 
Kimberley, 403 ; mine, 403 
King Alfred, burlesque, 73 
King, Sir Seymour, at a meeting 

against Tariff Reform, 382 
King William Street, shop at, n, 

2 5 

King-Harman, -Colonel, elected 
member of the National Union, 

King's College, evening classes, 51, 

7 1 

Kingsley, Charles, 40 
Kingston, 34 
Kitson, Sir James, motion against 

Tariff Reform, 381, 386 
Knutsford, Henry, ist Baron, at 

the debate on the Home Rule 

Bill, 309 

Knowles, James, 223 
Kruger, President, 323 ; telegram 

from the German Emperor, 326 ; 

ultimatum, 354 

Krugersdorp, engagement at, 326 
Kurr, William, 139; fraudulent 

career, 140 ; the Great Turf 

Fraud trial, 140-147 

Labouchere, Henry, 237 ; against 

the proposal to carry on Bills, 


Ladysmith, 404 
Lamb, Charles, 49 
Lambton, Mr., at a meeting against 

Tariff Reform, 382 
Land Purchase Bill, Irish, 288, 294 
" Last of the Barons, "lecture on, 53 
Laurie, Colonel, 177 
Laurier, Sir Wilfrid, 368 
Law Guarantee Society, 409 
Lawson, Sir Wilfrid, Local Veto 

Bill, r.66 
Layard, Rt. Hon. Sir Austen Henry, 

Learmouth, Colonel, candidate for 

Colchester, 174 
" Legal Profession, The Future of 

the," 272 
Leigh, Hon. E. Chandos, Counsel 

to the Speaker, 65, 175 
Leonard, J. L., 403 
Letchworth, Sir Edward, Grand 

Secretary of the Freemasons, 112 
Lewes, 194 
Lewis, Sir Charles, charge against 

The Times, 267 
Lewis, George, 138, 295 
Life for Life, performance of, 72 
Lilley, Rev. Isaac, 78 
Lilley, Samuel, characteristics, 78 
Lincoln's Inn, history of, 47 ; fare- 
well dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 413 
Lindley, Mr. Justice, appointed 

Master of the Rolls, 337 
Lindsay, W. S., 26 
" Lineal Alphabet or Character of 

Dashes," 405 
Linton, Mrs. Lynn, 72 
Littler, Ralph, Counsel for the De- 



fence in the* West of England 
Bank case, 173 

Liverpool, Robert, 2nd Earl of, 5 

Lloyd, Dr., 16 

Local Government Bill, 270 ; Irish, 
335, 338 

Local Veto Bill, 166, 312 

Loch, Lord, at the opening of the 
Delagoa Bay Railway, 323 

Locke, John, M.P. for Southwark, 
103 ; death, 155 

Lockwood, Sir Frank, 175, 233, 249, 
289, 328 

Loder, Gerald, candidate for Brigh- 
ton, 372 

London Government Act 1899, 340 

London, Tower of, dynamite ex- 
plosions, 236 

Lopes, Rt. Hon. Sir Massey, 352 

Loreburn, Robert, ist Earl, 207 

Lowther, Rt. Hon. James, 218, 226 

Lucy, Sir Henry, 339 

Ludlow, J. M., 42 

Lugard, Lady, 325 

Lush, Mr. Justice, 80 

Lushington, Godfrey and Vernon, 
42 ; attend the debates of the 
Hardwicke Society, 61 

Lusitania, the, 341 

Lyndhurst, John, Baron, speech in 
the House of Lords, 48, 416 ; 
wig, 48 

Lyttelton, Rt. Hon. Alfred, 328 

Lyttelton, Lord, President of the 
Working Men's Club and Institute 
Union, 63 

Lytton, Edward Bulwer, ist Baron, 
four styles of fiction, 39 ; Kenelm 
Chillingly, 48 ; at the Royal 
Literary Fund dinner, 269 

Lytton, Robert, 2nd Baron, 40 

Lyveden, Courtenay, 3rd Baron, 
trip to Canada, 366 

Macaulay, Lord, 40 ; History, 2 
note, 41 

Macclesfield, election petition case, 

Macdona, Gumming, trip to Can- 
ada, 367 

Machiavelli, Nicolo, on the joys of 
a library, 411 

Mackenzie, Rev. Charles, estab- 
lishes evening classes for young 
men, 29, 58 

Mackney, E. W., no 

MacMaster, Donald, M.P., 368 

Macnaghten, Lord, 408 ; appointed 
Lord of Appeal, 241 

Magnus, Sir Philip, at a meeting 

against Tariff Reform, 382 
Mahaffy, Prof., 269 
Maitland, Lydia, 74 
MajubaHill, defeat, 189, 351 
Malcolm, Colonel, on the proposal 

to carry on Bills, 288 
Manchester, 277 ; election, 377 
Manners, Lord John, 98 
Mansfield, Canon, 186 
Maristow, 352 
Markham, Sir Arthur, charges 

against Messrs. Wernher, Beit 

& Co., 329-331 
Marsden, George, 126 
Marston, Henry, 69 
Marston, Philip Bourke, 72 
Marston, Westland, receptions, 71 ; 

Life for Life, 72 
Marten, A. G., member of the 

National Union, 97, 98 
Martin, Edward, 92 
Masterman, John, 45 
Mathew, J. C., 152 
Matthews, Sir Charles, 126, 249, 327 
Maxwell, Rt. Hon. Sir Herbert, 281 
May, Mr., letters from Sir E. Clarke, 

May brick, Mrs., case, 280 

McKellar, Mr., Counsel for the Pro- 
secution in the West of England 
Bank case, 173 

McLaren, Sir Charles, appointed 
Privy Councillor, 408 

McMahon, Patrick, 86 

Mead, Mr., 249 

Meiklejohn, detective, case against, 
137-147 ; verdict, 147 

Merchant of Venice, burlesque of, 73 

Merchant Shipping, amendment of 
the laws, 209 

Meredith, George, 40 

Mersey, John C., ist Viscount, 279 

Metropolitan Conservative Work- 
ing Men's Association, meeting, 


Middleton, Captain, 364 
Mildmay, Mr., at a meeting against 

Tariff Reform, 382 
Millard, Evelyn, 54 
Millar d, John, teacher of elocution, 

Miller and his Men, performance 

of, 71 

Milner, Sir Alfred, 346 
Ministry, resignation, 240 ; defeat, 


Mitchell, Annie, 33, 37 ; first meet- 
ing with Sir E. Clarke, 33 ; ap- 



pearance, 34 ; engagement, 54 ; 
breaks it off, 64 ; reconciliation, 
84 ; marriage, 88. See Clarke 

Mitchell, Fanny, 33 

Moloney, Mr., 249 

Monk, Mr., 369 

Montreal, 368 

Morley, Henry, lecturer on English 
Literature at King's College, 51, 
71 ; appearance, 52 ; charac- 
teristics, 52 ; editor of The Ex- 
aminer, 62 

Morley, John, ist Viscount, Life of 
Gladstone, extract from, 213 ; 
amendment on the policy of the 
Government, 237 ; on the Crimes 
Act, 239 ; at the Round Table 
Conference, 264 ; against the 
proposal to carry on Bills, 288 ; 
Chief Secretary for Ireland, 312 ; 
" Period of Qualifications and 
Elections Bill," 312 ; at the fare- 
well dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 414 

Morning Herald, The, 60, 84 

Morrison, Hans, 82 

Moscow, 342, 346 

Moulin, Bishop Du, character of 
his sermon, 369 

Moulton, Lord, at the farewell 
dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 414 

Murrough, John P., 83 

Musical Society, 114 

Muskett, Mr., employed in the 
Parnell divorce case, 285, 289 

Naples, 318 

National Church League, 403 
National Union of Conservative and 
Constitutional Associations, es- 
tablished, 98 ; conference at 
Birmingham, 214 ; negotiations 
with the Central Committee, 216 ; 
conference at Sheffield, 216 ; 
election of candidates, 217 
Neilson, Adelaide, appearance, 72 
Neilson, Julia, 72 
Nelson, Admiral Lord, no 
Nevill, Lord, 96. See Abergavenny 
New York, 371 

Newcastle, political meeting at, 190 
Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia, on 
the limitation of armaments, 342 
Nicholson, Sir Richard, 278 
Nineteenth Century, The, 223 
Noel, Gerard, Vice- President of the 

National Union, 98 
Norris, Mr., Counsel for the Defence 
in the West of England Bank case, 

Northcliffe, Alfred, ist Viscount, 
358. See Harmsworth 

Northcote, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry, 
191, 225 ; M.P. for Exeter, 245 ; 
appointed Governor of Bombav, 

Northcote, Rt. Hon. Sir Stafford, 
164 ; on the dissolution of Parlia- 
ment, 1 68 ; Conservative leader 
in House of Commons, 190; at 
Newcastle, 190 ; nervousness, 
191 ; wish to consult Sir E. 
Clarke, 192 ; want of alertness, 
205 ; at Aston Park, 218 ; re- 
ceives Sir E. Clarke at Pynes, 
224 ; negotiations on the Fran- 
chise Bill, 226 ; vote of censure, 
236, 238 

Norton, Hon. Mrs., 39 

Norwood, Mr., 204 

Nottingham, election petition case, 

Nunn, Joshua, in 

Oakshott, Mr., 17 

Oaths Bill, 274 

O'Brien, William, action against 
Lord Salisbury, 277-279 

O'Donnell, Frank Hugh, libel ac- 
tion against The Times, 272-274, 
2 77. 283 ; History of the Irish 
Parliamentary Party, 272 note 

Olney, Mr., character of his dis- 
patches, 319 

O'Malley, Sergeant, 86 

Orange Girl, The, performance of, 

O'Shea, Captain, divorce case, 283, 

O'Shea, Mrs., relations with Par- 
nell, 273, 283, 285 ; divorce case, 
289 ; birth of her children, 286 

Ottawa, 368 

Oxford University, Associate in 
Arts, examination, 33 

Paget, Bishop F., on the Ecclesiasti- 
cal Discipline Commission, 401 

Pakington, Rt. Hon. Sir John, 31 

Palmer, Inspector, case against, 
138-147 ; verdict, 147 

Palmerston, Viscount, 18 

Panton, Paul, 65 

Parliament, dissolution, 168, 244, 
254, 300 ; prorogued, 224, 288 ; 
adjourned, 236 ; meeting, 354 ; 
opened, 378 



Parliamentary franchise extension, 


Parnell, C. S., 236 ; at Plymouth, 
254 ; charge against, 265, 275 ; 
explanation, 266 ; relations with 
Mrs. O'Shea, 273, 283, 285 ; tri- 
umph in the House of Commons, 
275 ; at Nottingham, 276 ; Ha- 
warden, 277 ; receives the free- 
dom of Edinburgh, 278 ; action 
for libel against The Times, 282 ; 
divorce case, 283, 289 ; descrip- 
tion of Mr. Gladstone, 292 ; 
anniversary of his death, 302 -304^ 

" Parnellism and Crime," articles" 
on, 265, 274 

Patents Bill, 206 

Patmore, Coventry, 40 

Pay, Esther, trial of, 194 

Payne, Dr., 127 

Pearce, Sir William, candidate for 
Plymouth, 301 

Pease, Rt. Hon. J. A., appointed 
Privy Councillor, 408 

Peel, Rt. Hon. Arthur W., ist Vis- 
count, Speaker, 237 

Peel, Sir Robert, 18 ; death, 19 

Penge mystery case, 120-134 

Percy, Earl, resigns chairmanship 
of the National Union Council, 

2I 5 

" Period of Qualifications and Elec- 
tions Bill," 312 

Petheram, Mr., Counsel for the De- 
fence in the West of England 
Bank case, 173 

Pevensey, 31 

Phelps, Samuel, 69 

Phillips, Sir G. Faudel, 340, 374 

Phillips, Lionel, at Johannesburg, 


Pinches, Conrad, 69 ; school Claren- 
don House, 70 

Pinches, Edward Ewen, 69, 77, 168, 
189, 244 

Pinches, William, head of the City 
Commercial School, 22, 68 ; ap- 
pearance, 22 ; characteristics, 23 

Pitsani Potlugo, 324, 325 

Pius, Father, 116 

Plaice, Mr., English master at 
Edmonton school, 1 7 

Platt, Mrs., death, 88 

Plymouth, election petition case, 
183 ; meetings at, 184, 204, 207, 
219, 241, 244, 254, 270, 310, 321, 
334. 34i. 345. 349; elections, 
186, 235, 244, 254, 256, 300, 316 ; 
increase in the number of voters, 

193 ; Executive Councils, meet- 
ings, 352, 353 

Poland, Mr., 126, 249 ; at the fare- 
well dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 414 

Pollock, Baron, summing-up at the 
Great Turf Fraud trial, 147 ; case 
of Esther Pay, 194 ; the Jameson 
Raid case, 327 

Ponsonby, Sir Henry, 213 

Poole, Arthur, Counsel for the De- 
fence in the West of England 
Bank case, 173 

Portugal, war with England 
averted, 262 

Postcards, reply, issue of, 205 

Pottle, Robert, 37 ; friendship with 
Sir E. Clarke, 21 

Powell, Sir Douglas, 387, 389 

Powell, Sir Francis, at a meeting 
against Tariff Reform, 382 

Pretoria, 403 

Princess's Theatre, 68 

Proportional Representation princi- 
ple, 232 

Prynne, Edward, designs stained- 
glass windows, 203 

Prynne, George Fellowes, designs 
St. Peter's Church, Staines, 202 

Prynne, Rev. G. R., support of Sir 
E. Clarke's political views, 232 

Public Speeches, extracts from, 276, 
304, 305, 311, 322, 334, 339, 342 

Puleston, Sir John, 364, 375, 387 

Punch, caricature of Sir E. Clarke, 

Purcell, H. F., 126 

Quain, Sir Richard, 245 

Raikes, Rt. Hon. Henry Cecil, ap- 
pearance, 95, 96 ; contests elec- 
tions, 95 ; characteristics, 96 ; 
organisation of the Conservative 
Union, 96 ; elected Vice- Presi- 
dent of the National Union, 98 

Railway and Canal Traffic Bill, 270 

Rainbow Tavern, meeting of the 
" Socials " debating society, 82 

Ratcliffe, Mr., election petition case, 

Rathmore, David, ist Baron, at the 
farewell dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 

Raynham, Miss, 74 

Reade, Charles, 40, 133 

Reading, Earl, at the fare well dinner 
to Sir E. Clarke, 414. See Isaacs 

Redistribution Bill, 224, 312 ; pub- 
lication of the Cabinet draft, 231 



Redmond, John, 320 

Rees-Webbe, Ethel, 363 ; present 
at the farewell dinner to her 
father, 414. See Clarke 

Rees-Webbe, Capt. Norman, takes 
part in the Boer War, 363 ; trip 
to South Africa, 403 ; at the 
farewell dinner to his father-in- 
law, 414 

Reform Bill of 1867, 98, 100, 312 

Registration of Voters Bill, 192 ; 
report on the system, 299 

Reid, Rt. Hon. Robert, character, 
207. See Loreburn 

Reynolds, F. W., 52 

Rhetoric, study of, 60 

Rhodes, Alice, 123 ; case against, 
125-132; verdict, 133; re- 
leased, 134 

Rhodes, Rt. Hon. Cecil, Prime 
Minister of Cape Colony, 325 

Richardson, Harriet, 120 ; weak 
intellect, 120; marriage, 121. 
See Staunton 

Richmond, Duke of, at Balmoral, 

Ridgeway, Rt. Hon. Sir West, can- 
didate for the City of London, 376 

Ridley, Lady, 190 

Ridley, Rt. Hon. Sir Matthew, 190 

Rigby, Sir John, appointed Attor- 
ney-General, 306, 313 

Ripley, H. W., 26 

Ritchie, Rt. Hon. C. T., 371 

Rivers, Horace, 6th Baron, 120 

Robinson, Sir Hercules, 325 

Rodd, Sir Rennell, appointed Privy 
Councillor, 408 

Rogers, J. P., 186 

Rogers, Thorold, M.P. for South- 
war k, 1 70 

Rolt, Sir John, 87 

Rome, 318, 365 

Romeo and Juliet, performance of, 

J 95 

Rosebery, Archibald, 5th Earl of, 
member of the Cabinet, 236 ; at 
the debate on the Home Rule 
Bill, 309 ; Prime Minister, 311 

Rosher, G. B., 281 

Rotherhithe, 162 

Rothschild, Hon. Walter, at a meet- 
ing against Tariff Reform, 382 

Round Table Conference, 264 

Rowton, Montagu, ist Baron, 65 ; 
at the debate on the Home Rule 
Bill, 309 

Royal Literary Fund dinner, 269 

Royalty Theatre, 74 

Ruegg, Mr., case of The Times, 273 

Ruskin, John, 40 

Russell, Sir Charles, Counsel for the 
Defence in the West of England 
Bank case, 173 ; Penge case, 
249; Ti mes case, 273 ; appointed 
Attorney- General, 306 ; on the 
rule against taking any private 
practice, 306 ; income, 307 ; the 
Jameson Raid, 327 ; character- 
istics, 328 ; summing up, 329 
on writing his life, 414 

Russell, Lord John, at an election 
meeting, 45 ; height, 45 

Russell, T. W., on the proposal to 
carry on Bills, 288 

Russia, 346 ; relations with Great 
Britain, 341 

Ryan, George, 202 

Rylance, Rev. T., founder of the 
Working Men's Club and Insti- 
tute Union, 63 

Ryswick, Peace of, 4 

Sadler, Sir Samuel, trip to Canada, 

3 6 7 

Sadler's Wells Theatre, 69 

St. Helier, Francis, Baron, 174 ; 
member of the Ecclesiastical 
Discipline Commission, 401 ; 
death, 401. See Jeune 

St. Peter's Church, Staines, 202 ; 
consecration, 203 ; cost, 203 ; 
figures carved in stone, 398 

Salisbury, Robert, 3rd Marquis of, 
leader of the House of Lords, 
190 ; at Newcastle, 190 ; char- 
acter of his speech, 191 ; at 
Sheffield, 216; negotiations on 
the Franchise Bill, 226 ; memor- 
andums from Sir E. Clarke, 227- 
230; return to office, 255, 315; 
offer to serve under Lord Hart- 
ington, 263 ; action against, 
277-279 ; proposal to carry on 
Bills, 287 ; on the retention of 
private practice by the Law 
Officers, 315, 317 ; promise to 
appoint Sir E. Clarke Attorney- 
General, 317 ; offers him Master- 
ship of the Rolls, 336 

Salmon, Frederick, 26 

Salvation Army, organisation, 298 

Salvian, Father, 116 

Samuel, Rt. Hon. Herbert, ap- 
pointed Privy Councillor, 408 

Sandars, Rt. Hon. J. S., 389 

Sandford, Thomas, 5 



Sandoz, Mr , 55 

Sassoon, Sir Edward, at a meeting 
against Tariff Reform, 382 

Schuster, Rt. Hon. Sir Felix, can- 
didate for the City of London, 376 

Science, Social, Association for the 
Promotion of, conference at the 
Guildhall, 63 

Scott, Clement, 133 

Scott, John, 104 

Scott, Sir Walter, 39 

Sedgwick, Leonard, secretary to 
the National Union, 97, 98 

Selby, William, ist Viscount, 279 

Selected Speeches, 233, 299, 310, 312, 
340, 342, 344, 346, 352, 35 6 > 35 8 
361, 384, 400 

Selfe, Mr., Bible-class for young 
men, 27 

Serf, The, play, 42, 70 

Sewell, Dr., 33 

Sexton, Thomas, against the pro- 
posal to carry on Bills, 288 

Seymour, Digby, 86 

Shaw, Flora, 325. See Lugard 

Shee, Mr. Justice, 83 

Sheffield, conference of the Na- 
tional Union, 216 

Shelley, John, 232, 254, 360 

Shelley, P. B., 39 

Sheppard, William, 70 

Sherborne Castle, 348 

Sherley, Mr., 101, 109 

Shipton, George, candidate for 
Southwark, 156 

Shipwrights, increase of pay, 300 

Shorthand, Easy, 405, 417 

Simon, Rt. Hon. Sir John, 406 ; 
Attorney-General, 413 ; at the 
farewell dinner to Sir E. Clarke, 


Sleigh, Sergeant, 80 

Smith, Abel, at a meeting against 
Tariff Reform, 382 

Smith, A. L., appointed Counsel 
to the Treasury, 153 ; Counsel 
for the Prosecution in the West 
of England Bank case, 173 

Smith, Rt. Hon. Sir F. E. f 406 ; at 
the farewell dinner to Sir E. 
Clarke, 414 

Smith, Goldwin, 369 ; conversa- 
tion with Sir E. Clarke, 370 

Smith, W. F. D., meeting against 
Tariff Reform, 382 

Smith, Rt. Hon. W. H., Leader of 
the House of Commons, 267 ; on 
the Channel Tunnel Bill, 271 ; 
illness, 287 

Smuts, General, 404 

Snosswell, Mr., 28 

Soames, Joseph, 282 ; solicitor to 
The Times, 273 ; refuses to under- 
take the Parnell divorce case, 

" Socials " debating society, 82 

Solly, Rev. H., founder of the Work- 
ing Men's Club and Institute 
Union, 63 

Southwark election, 149, 155 ; can- 
didates, 156 ; polling day, 162 ; 
result of the election, 163, 170 

Southwark Mercury, The, 150 

Southwark, Richard, ist Baron, 174 

Spain, 365 

Spencer, John, 5th Earl, at the 
debate on the Home Rule Bill, 


Spottiswoode, Messrs., method of 
printing Government work, 231 

Staines, 200, 255, 280 ; regatta, re- 
vival, 201 

Standard, The, 60, 84 ; publication 
of the Cabinet draft of the Re- 
distribution Bill, 231 

Stanhope, Rt. Hon. Edward, 216, 

Stanhope, Hon. Philip, 354. See 
Wear dale 

Stanley, Lord, 18 ; Secretary of 
State for India, 35 ; offers writer- 
ships for competition, 35 

Staunton, Harriet, 120 ; birth of 
a child, 121, 123 ; at Cudham, 
121, 123 ; relations with her 
husband, 123 ; death of her 
child, 124 ; brought to Penge, 
124 ; illness and death, 124 ; 
result of the post-mortem exami- 
nation, 125, 133. See Richardson 

Staunton, Louis, 121, 123 ; case 
against, 125-132 ; verdict, 132; 
reprieved, 134 ; interview with 
Sir E. Clarke, 134 

Staunton, Patrick, 121, 123 ; case 
against, 125-132 ; verdict, 133 ; 
reprieved, 134 

Staunton, Mrs. Patrick, 121 ; case 
against, 125-132 ; birth of a son 
in gaol, 126; verdict, 133; re- 
leased, 134 

Steele, Mrs., charge against, 289 

Stephen, Sir J. Fitzjames, Judge, 
126; failure of his powers, 279 

Stevens, D. C., criticism on Sir E. 
Clarke's delivery of his lectures, 

Stevens, W. R., 53 78 



Stevenson, Dr., evidence in the 
Bartlett case, 250 

Stibbs, William, 183 

Stirling, Lord Justice, 330 

Straight, Douglas, 79, 122, 126 

Strathcona, Lord, 368 

Stringer, Edgar P., 26 

Stuart- Wortley, Rt. Hon. C., amend- 
ment on Free Trade, 382 ; divi- 
sion on, 385 ; appointed Under- 
secretary for the Home Depart- 
ment, 242 

Sumner, Lord, at the farewell dinner 
to Sir E. Clarke, 414 

Surrey Sessions, character, 78 

Surrey Theatre, 70 

Suter, Eleanor, 120 

Sutton, Henry, 327 

Swansea, meeting at, 101 

Sweet Lavender, performance of, 77 

Swifthand : A New Simple and 
Rapid Method of Writing, 405 

Switzerland, 189 

Tabor, Dr., School at Cheam, 201 

Talbot, Rt Hon. J. G., on the pro- 
posal to carry on Bills, 288 ; at 
a meeting against Tariff Reform, 

Talfourd, Sir T., 39 

Tancred, Christopher, bequest to 
Lincoln's Inn, 47, 77 

Tariff Reform, 193, 366, 381 ; meet- 
ing against, 382 

Taylor, Colonel, 62 ; Vice- Presi- 
dent of the National Union, 98 

Temple, Dr., Archbishop of Canter- 
bury, consecrates St. Peter's 
Church, 203 ; on ecclesiastical 
discipline, 398 

Tennyson, Alfred, ist Baron, 40 

Terriss, William, 195 

Terry, Edward, 77 

Terry, Ellen, 69, 195, 253 

Testament, New, Authorised Ver- 
sion of the, emendation, 406, 417 

Thackeray, W. M., 40 

Thomas, Rev. David, founder of 
the Working Men's Club and 
Institute Union, 63 

Thomas, Moy, 72 

Thorncote, 201 

Thornton, Percy, M.P., at a meet- 
ing against Tariff Reform, 382 

Thring, Henry, ist Lord, 100 

Tidy, Dr. Meymott, evidence in 
the Bartlett case, 250 

Times, The, articles on " Parnellism 
and Crime," 265, 274 ; charge 

against, 267-269 ; Special Com- 
mission appointed, 274 ; action 
for libel against, 272-274, 282 ; 
letter from Sir E. Clarke, 348 

Tithes Bill, 280, 288, 294 ; with- 
drawn, 282 

Todd, Wilson, 196 

Tonbridge, 163 

Toole, J. L., 54 

Toronto, 112, 368, 369; St. James's 
Cathedral, 369 

Tranby Croft, 295 

Transvaal, war expenditure, 324 

Treloar, Thomas, 26 

Treloar, Sir William. Bart., 374 ; 
defence of Sir E. Clarke, 387 

Tremouille, Adelaide Blanche de 
la, 246. See Bartlett 

Trench, Archbishop, lines from, 
410, 418 

Trevelyan. Rt. Hon. Sir George, 
at the Round Table Conference, 

Trip to South Africa, 404 

Troll ope, Anthony, 40 

Truscott, Rt. Hon. Sir Francis, elec- 
tion petition case, 175 

Turf Fraud case, the Great, 136- 

United States, controversy with 
Great Britain, 3 1 9-32 3 "* 

Vancouver, 371 
Vectis, the, 374 
Venezuela, dispute with Great 

Britain, 319-323 
Verrall, Colonel, 372 
Victoria, 371 
Victoria, Queen, wisdom and tact, 

226 ; at Balmoral, 240 
Victoria Theatre, 72 
Vincent, Sir Edgar, M.P. for Exeter, 


Wace, Rev. Henry, 51 

Waghorn, Mr., 50 

Wales, no; disestablishment of the 
Church, 299, 313 

Wales, H.R.H. Albert Edward, 
Prince of, relations with the Mar- 
quis of Blandford, 213 ; at 
Tranby Croft, 295 ; box of coun- 
ters, 296 ; present at the debate 
on the Home Rule Bill, 309 

Walker, Mr., 370 

Wallingford, election petition case, 



Walrond, Lionel, at a meeting 
against Tariff Reform, 382 

War for Commerce, 344 

Ward, Horatia, no; at Pinner, 

Ward, Nelson, no 

Warington, George, 28 

Warington, Robert, 28 

Waterloo, victory of, 5 

Waterlow, Rt. Hon. Sir Sydney, 119 

Watkin, Sir Edward, 271 

Watson, James, editor of The 
Kentish Mercury, 150 

Watson, Sir Thomas, 59 

Watts, John George, 52 

Weardale, Philip, ist Baron, 354 

Webster, Sir Richard, 135 ; ap- 
pointed Attorney-General, 24?, 
317 ; relations with Sir E. Clarke, 
259, 418 ; method of work, 259, 
262 ; on The Times case, 274 ; 
Jameson Raid trial, 327 ; de- 
clines Mastership of the Rolls, 
336 ; amendment on the Church 
Discipline Bill, 399. See Alver- 

Welby, Reginald, Baron, member 
of the Commission on Irish 
Finance, 333 

Wellington, Duke of, funeral, 19 

Wernher, Beit & Co., Messrs., 
charges against, 329-331 ; gift 
to the City of London College, 


West of England Bank case, 172 ; 
Counsel for the Prosecution, 173 ; 
for the Defence, 173 

Western Mail, The, 101 

Westminster Hall, dynamite ex- 
plosion, 236 

Whitbread, Mr., against the pro- 
posal to carry on Bills, 288 

Whitfield, Richard, 76 

Whitley, Mr., 216 

Whittington, Rev. Richard, 29 ; 
establishes evening classes for 
young men, 29 

Wigan, Alfred, 73 

Wigan, Horace, 73 

Wilberforce, William, 5 

William II, Emperor of Germany, 
telegram to President Kruger, 326 

William III, King, 4 

Williams, Montagu, 126 

Williamson, Superintendent, evi- 
dence at the Great Turf Fraud 
trial, i4">, 146 

Willis, William, M.P. for Colchester, 

Wills, Rt. Hon. Sir Alfred, the 

Bartlett case, 249 ; summing-up, 


Wilton. Marie, 70 
Wimble, Edward, 102? 
Wimborne, Ivor, Baron, '359 
Winchelsea, 32 
Windsor Castle, 408 
Windsor, Charles, case of, 83, 85 
Winn, Rowland, 226 
Wiseman, Cardinal, Appeal to the 

People of England, 28 
Wolff, Rt. Hon. Sir Henry Drum- 

mond, member of the National 

Union, 217 

Woodfall, Miss, marriage, 109 
Woodstock, 107 
Wordsworth, William, 39 
Working Men's Club and Institute 

Union, 63 
Working Men's College, lectures at, 


Workmen's Compensation Bill, 339 
Worms, Henry de, 205 
Worthing, 188 
Wren, Walter, election petition 

case, 178 
Wright, R. S., 183, 249 

Yeo, Dr., 201 

York, H.R.H. George, Duke of, 

present at the debate on the 

Home Rule Bill, 309 ; Treasurer 

of Lincoln's Inn, 396 
York Conservative Association 

meeting, 99 

Young, Mrs. Charles, 69 
Young, Sir George, candidate for 

Plymouth, 184 

Zoological Gardens, 13 

Printed by Hatell. Watson &> Viney, Ld., London and Aylesbury, 



OVER DUE.' * #*V > J 

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